GTA geeks gather to give generously

    HoHoTO Toronto Tech community Holiday party raises more than $12,000 for
    Daily Bread Food Bank in under a week

    TORONTO, Dec. 10 /CNW/ - In an extraordinary example of the power of
self-organizing online groups, the Toronto technology, digital marketing and
social media communities have come together through their Twitter streams to
create what looks set to be one of the biggest and most exciting Holiday
gatherings of 2008.
    <a href="">HoHoTO</a>, a party in support of Toronto's <a href="">Daily Bread Food Bank</a>, takes
place Monday, December 15 from 7pm until late at the Mod Club in downtown
Toronto. More than 400 people have signed up to attend so far, drawn by the
appeal of a night of DJs, interactive media, Holiday cheer, and the chance to
meet the real world friends behind their online avatars.
    Pulled together over the course of 48 hours, with all organization and
promotion being run via Twitter and email messages, HoHoTO was inspired by a
small group of volunteer organizers who wanted to do something to help the
hungry this Holiday season. Since the idea for HoHoTO was first floated on
December 2nd, more than 70 pages of messages have been posted to Twitter and
scores of blog posts have been written about the event.
    "It's like we rolled a snowball," commented Rob Hyndman, one of the
HoHoTO organizers. "We took the seed of an idea, gave it a gentle push, and
it's picked up incredible momentum, support and other ideas along the way. Our
little idea has grown into a huge snowball of good."
    On average, 79,407 people in the GTA rely on food banks every month,
according to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Figures recently released by the
Ontario Association of Food Banks indicate an alarming increase in food bank
use over the past year, with the number of people turning to food banks
increasing by 13 per cent between September 2007 and September 2008.
    "Daily Bread Food Bank is extremely proud to be charitable beneficiary of
HoHoTO," said Gail Nyberg, Daily Bread's executive director. "Unfortunately,
we anticipate a challenging year ahead given the recent economic downturn.
HoHoTO provides new, non-budgeted revenue that will really support the fight
against hunger. I commend the HoHoTO organizers for the unprecedented growth
of this event. Raising $12,000 in five days is truly exceptional!"
    By reaching out through their personal networks using Twitter, the HoHoTO
instigators have succeeded in securing sponsorships and donations from
organizations as diverse as Microsoft, Freshbooks, Canon, Theatre Passe
Muraille, Uptime Software, Teehan+Lax, and Viigo.

    The HoHoTO team includes:
       Leila Boujnane - CEO, Idée Inc.
       Alexa Clark - Managing Partner, Plethora Press
       Ryan Coleman - Chief Community Evangelist, VizThink
       Duarte Da Silva - Senior Manager,
       April Dunford - Director, Incubation Marketing, Nortel
       Peter Flaschner - Founder, The Blog Studio
       Rob Hyndman - Founder, Hyndman/Law
       Sheri Moore - Partner, Creative Director, MCC Planners Inc.
       Michael O'Connor Clarke - Vice President,
        Thornley Fallis Communications Inc.
       Michael Penney - El Presidente, Afterlight Films
       Michele Perras - Manager, Mobile Experience Innovation Centre
       Corey Reid - Chief Cat Herder, FreshBooks
       Ryan Taylor - Goldsmith, Adventurer, The Fair Trade Jewellery Co.
       Rannie Turingan - Photographer,
       Elena Yunusov - Founder,

    Tickets for HoHoTO are still available via the event website at and sponsorships and donations are still encouraged. Full
details also available through the website. Followers can track the ongoing
discussion around this event on Twitter by searching for messages tagged

    About HoHoTO

    HoHoTO started as a casual remark in a Twitter discussion and grew at Web
speed to become Toronto's biggest geek Holiday fundraiser, almost overnight.
Planned and created by a motley assembly of enthusiastic volunteers using only
freely-available collaborative online tools, high-carb snack foods, and almost
obnoxious levels of creative energy, HoHoTO was built as a way for Toronto's
vibrant, thriving tech community to spread a little love this Holiday Season,
and give something to those less fortunate. All proceeds from the event will
be going directly to the Daily Bread Food Bank to help them in their 2008
Holiday Drive.

For further information:

For further information: Michael O'Connor Clarke, (416) 471-8664,

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