What is Friends With Hearts?
Friends With Hearts is not a registered charity; we are a global community of friends working together to restore the magic of Christmas for families in need.
Starting from a simple idea in 2011, Friends With Hearts had it’s beginning in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
According to a report released in 2012 by the Hamilton Community Foundation, there are some neighbourhoods within Hamilton where poverty rates are at less than 6% and others where it hovers at more than 40%. For many families, this means that Christmas morning will be absent of gifts, including basic necessities and the small luxuries that characterize the excitement of the season.
We know that this stat is equal if not possibly worse in other cities and we hope to help those in need.
This is where Friends With Hearts finds its purpose.
By raising funds on behalf of local charities/organizations, we are able to support families who are enduring difficult circumstances and offer hope to the children who feel it the most.
100% of the donations go towards the families.
meet our founder
As a full-time photographer and Subway sandwich aficionado, Jay has travelled Southern Ontario and beyond to capture the moments and memories that matter. Following a mission trip to Haiti in 2010 – mere months after the devastation of the earthquake that shook its capital city – Jay discovered his passion for serving and has since dedicated his time and talent to other charitable efforts including the establishment of Friends With Hearts. When he isn’t dreaming of meeting Will Smith and the bottomless bag of Doritos, he is steering our efforts through his vision to bring the excitement of Christmas to as many families as possible.
“In 2010 I would make my first trip to Haiti. I went to assist an organization in helping to build schools and also found myself playing photographer for them. Upon return to Canada, my heart was filled with motivation and I wanted to dedicate my time and resources to helping wherever I could.
Someone said to me: “Why are you going down there? Why aren’t you helping out in your hometown?”. Although I continue efforts in Haiti, I did decide that I wanted to help out here. I wasn’t sure what to do until I found a photo of me playing with a Ghostbusters car I received a Christmas many years ago. I could remember how happy I was. It had nothing to do with the materialistic toy in my possession but more to do with the fact that my parents were making sure I was happy. It was a strong memory and I realized that way too many children probably don’t get to experience the joy that I felt that Christmas morning and I wanted to do my best to change that.
Friends With Hearts was born but I wanted it to be two-fold. Of course our main objective is to sponsor those families in need at Christmas but I also wanted to incorporate another element. When I was in Haiti, I witnessed how financially poor the country is but how socially rich they are. I wanted to bring that social element back with me. In North America, most of us don’t even say hi to our neighbour, or spend time with our friends. TV and Facebook win out most times. This was the second part of Friends With Hearts. Is that you do it with your friends. It’s bringing friends together around the holiday season. Working together and igniting that social element in our lives once again.
Friends with Hearts has been some of the most rewarding work I have ever been a part of and I owe a debt of gratitude to everyone who has helped out.