Calgary resident raises $18K for charity by sewing masks in her garage

Jan 12 2021, 5:49 pm

To say the least, 2020 was an incredibly difficult year for many people. This is why good news should be shared and great causes should be celebrated. Seeing people, communities, and businesses band together has been a consistently uplifting through-line during COVID-19.

TD saw an opportunity to reward its customers, colleagues, and communities through its annual campaign. In 2020, TD employees had the chance to nominate customers and colleagues who demonstrated courage and resilience in the face of COVID-19 by helping their communities. If chosen, they were recognized with a personalized demonstration of gratitude.

TD employee and Calgary’s own Amaninder Handa was nominated by her Branch Manager for helping to raise over $11,000 for the Calgary Food Bank and over $7,000 for other charities with the help of Masks YYC. These donations were a direct result of her selfless work making masks for her community, proceeds from which went directly towards the local organizations. 

The day Handa found out she had been recognized as part of the annual #TDThanksYou campaign, she had no idea it was coming. “I was so surprised and I felt like I had done something nice with my life.  I felt on top of the world. I am so proud I’m working at TD.”

Handa told us why she and a few of her neighbours started making masks in the first place. “In the beginning, it was really hard to find masks in stores, so we thought we could do something to help others in their communities.”

It didn’t matter to Handa that she had no experience making masks. She wanted to help. “At the beginning, we didn’t know how to make masks, but we learned how to make them on YouTube. We started slowly, and now we make more than 50 masks per day,” she explains.

In recognition of her efforts, TD rewarded Handa with four brand new sewing machines so that she could help even more people stay safe. The City of Calgary also couldn’t help but notice Handa’s impact; it donated fabric to this growing grassroots cause.

Handa and her team of neighbours asked for nothing in return for the masks they made. So how did they raise so much money for charity? The community banded together. “We told everyone they didn’t need to pay us for the masks, but instead make a donation to any charity they liked and we kept track of the resulting donations. Some people would end up donating $200 for just one mask.”

TD is proud to have such selfless, community-oriented employees, Handa among them.

“I really want to thank TD from the bottom of my heart for appreciating the little things,” says Handa. “The purpose behind the masks is to help my community, and when you can help each other, it gives you a good feeling.”

After raising over $18,000 working from a garage with only one sewing machine, just think about what Handa and her team can do with four brand new sewing machines and the recognition that she has earned. “We have received emails from the local Scouts and schools who need masks and want to donate as well. So we will need to keep going.”

You can discover more #TDThanksYou recipient stories on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

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