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'Those with the least to give, give the most'

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Helping HandsFeb. 3 – Today is Toque Tuesday, a one-day national campaign that raises money for solutions to homelessness and creates awareness about the homeless crisis.

Toque sale proceeds go to Raising the Roof, the national organizer of the campaign, the Lookout Society and Pacific Community Resource Society.

Lookout Society staff and volunteers sold toques to the public at SkyTrain stations. Commuters were told that the funds raised make a difference in the lives of those who are homeless.

It's hard to imagine that buying one toque can have any impact on homelessness. But don't tell that to a group of homeless men in Surrey.

Wendy, one of the Lookout Society's outreach workers in Surrey, came across the group today and asked them if they could spare some change. She told them the money they donated would buy one toque, then they would give it to the one who needed it most.

Each of them chipped in what they could until they raised $10, the price of the toque. Wendy then gave it to the person most in need.

"They decided they wanted to make a difference in someone's life, even though they have nothing," says Wendy. "It reminds us that regardless if you're poor or not, you can still make a difference to someone."

The act of giving lifted Wendy's spirits. In the morning she volunteered to sell Raise the Roof toques at a SkyTrain station and found it frustrating when some commuters ignored those selling toques.

"It made me think, those with the least to give are the one's that give the most," she says. "There's a lot of people who think the homeless always have their hands out. But that's not true."

People don't want a handout. They just need a hand up, explains Wendy.

• If you weren't able to buy a toque on Feb. 3 but still want support solutions to homelessness, toques can be purchased at www.raisingtheroof.org. Eight dollars of each sale goes to local programs and services.