FAQ

Here is a selection of commonly asked questions as answered by our mascot “Sunny”:

Information for Patients and Social Workers:

We should try to consolidate this into a help assistant where the user can type in their question and information will pop up. I also think that their should be a summary of the program guidelines like a simple chart. I will provide a consolidated program guideline that can be used.

How We Help Patients:

  Dear Sunny: I am a patient going through life-threatening illness and I just heard about your foundation. I took a look at your website and that is how I signed up for the newsletter, but I am so overwhelmed by my diagnosis and the stress… I am not really sure how to apply for any help, or even what kinds of help there are. Can you help clarify? ~ New to Shine Through the Rain Dear New to Shine Through the Rain: We are so glad you came across our information and have signed up for our newsletter! That is an amazing first step to help. Below is a breakdown of our programs, as well as links to their web pages for more details and our application portal. This should help you determine which program may help most depending on your situation. If you have any questions please have your referring healthcare professional check our online portal for information (see below). They will need to apply on your behalf through our online portal: The Rainy Day Fund (up to $1,500 per patient/year): pays overdue rent, past due utility bills, reimburses medical transportation/parking costs accumulated during treatments, as well as providing grocery gift cards to ensure nutritional requirements are still being met. Visit https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/. Camp Scholarships (up to $500 per child/year): allows families with a diagnosed family member to send their children to a camp, program or tutor of their choice when they would otherwise struggle to afford such activities. Visit:https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/camp-scholarships/. Pediatric Christmas Party: for families with young children. Visit with Santa, enjoy children’s entertainment, receive a gift card for toys and just have some fun again. Visit: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/pediatric-christmas-party/. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I know how you help patients and their families with emergency payments of overdue rent, past-due utilities, provision of grocery gift cards and reimbursement of hospital parking or transportation costs. How do I refer a friend in need? ~ A Friend Dear Friend: Thank you for looking out for your friend! They are lucky to have you in their corner. With a skeletal staff of 2 looking after patients all across Canada, we recently went digital. Please note that all applications are to be submitted by a health care professional (i.e., hospital social worker, nurse, physician, child Life Specialist) through our online portal found here: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/. We unfortunately can NO longer accept applications directly from patients. We also cannot accept applications via fax, email or mail. Please inform your friend of this information. Your friend’s social worker (or other referring healthcare professional) will need to email us at program.services@shinethroughtherain.ca to request a login and password before they submit patient applications. All instructions are found on this website that you can provide to your friend and all applications are due by the 15th of each month (or the Friday if the 15th falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday). Good luck. ~ Sunny

 

Application Due Date:

  Dear Sunny: When do you approve Rainy Day Fund applications? As a social worker, I would like to let my patients know if their applications are approved but lately I don’t hear back from you. How do I find out if my patients are approved? ~ Cheering for my Patients Dear Cheering for my Patients: We are so glad you are cheering for your patients! Thank you for the work you do on their behalf! Please remember that recently we moved away from paper applications to an online portal system where you (or any healthcare professional) submit your patient applications and supporting documents. The online portal informs of the following:
  • applications are due the 15th of the month. If the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday, then applications are due the Friday before;
  • we encourage applying well before the 15th of the month if possible.
  • healthcare professionals need to go back into the online portal system after the 15th to check the status of the patient applications. The status of each application will change from “Reviewing” to “Approved” or “Declined”.
Please keep in mind that we are very short staffed with only 2 people looking after patients all across Canada. As noted in the automated emails sent by Program Services and the voice message greeting, we unfortunately do not have the capacity to reply to emails and/or voice messages pertaining to application status. Hence, the only way to learn which patient applications are approved/declined is to check the online portal after the 15th of the month. Also, due to the high volume of emails we sent out at the end of our funding period to notify social workers of the application status, our servers have recognized us as spam which caused issues sending out emails. Please also note that we can NO longer accept applications directly from patients, by fax, email or mail. All supporting documents must also be submitted via the online portal. Your efforts are greatly appreciated as we transition from paper to online applications and appreciate your understanding. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I’m planning on having my social worker apply for some help once I get everything in order as far as documents required (narrative letter, copies of overdue bills, landlord letter) but what happens if it takes a long time for me to get these letters? If I apply for assistance after the deadline of the 15th, will my application just automatically carry over into next month’s funding consideration? Just trying to plan out my timing as best I can. ~ Planning Ahead Dear Planning Ahead: This is a question we hear often, so thank you for reaching out about it! If you apply by the 15th, there is a better chance we will have funding available to help (but there is no guarantee). While you can apply after the 15th, there is a greater chance funds will be depleted; however, there is a chance we may still have funds available may be able to assist. If your application is submitted after the 15th and funds have been spent, then your application would be considered the following month. Please note that if you apply by the 15th and your application is not approved, then your social worker needs to reapply next month as we do not roll over applications. ~ Sunny
 

Application Questions / Criteria / How To Apply:

  Dear Sunny: Help! I cannot find the Rainy Day Fund application online! Did you discontinue this program? I am desperate for emergency financial assistance because I’m too sick to work and am overdue on my rent and one of my utility bills! There is very little help out there like this. ~ Desperate Dear Desperate: Good news! We are here to help and pleased to announce the Rainy Day Fund program is still here. We just launched an online portal for your social worker or other healthcare professional (i.e. hospital social workers, nurse, Child Life Specialist, physician, caseworker) to submit your application to us, on your behalf. Like before, the application needs to be submitted by your healthcare professional. Moving to the new online system, this streamlines the process for us at Shine Through the Rain Foundation because we have a very small skeletal staff here. The feedback we received from the social workers has been positive and they prefer it to the old system, so it’s easier for everyone. However, at the very bottom of the online page a sample application can be found: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/. Please note that your social worker (or other healthcare professional) needs to email us at program.services@shinethroughtherain.ca to receive their login information. Your application still needs to be submitted by the 15th of every month (or the Friday before, if the 15th falls on the weekend or holiday). The Rainy Day Fund program pays overdue rent and utilities, reimburses medical parking and transportation costs, and provides grocery gift cards. Household income must be under $60,000 per year, patients must be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness anywhere in the country and be a Canadian citizen. Please remember to provide copies of your overdue bills, receipts and letters of eviction or disconnection notices. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I am a social worker and wonder how I find out if the patient applications I submitted have been approved. What do I do from here? ~ Social Worker Dear Social Worker: Thank you for reaching out to us and for all you do to help your patients! All you must do at this point is after the 15th of the month, go back into our online portal to discover if your patient applications have been approved or declined (if declined the reason will be provided). Then you can notify your patients of the decisions. When patient applications are approved,  approved, we will mail them the funding through Canada Post. Any payments for overdue rent and utilities will be written out in the names of the landlord and utility provider(s). The patient will then need to make sure they forward the cheques to the correct person or organization. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: How can I sign up for the grocery gift cards? ~ Crystal Dear Crystal: You will need to have your hospital social worker or other healthcare professional request a grocery gift card on your behalf. To qualify, you need to be diagnosed with a life-threatening illness with a household income under $60,000. Social workers can submit your Rainy Day Fund application through our online portal here: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/). All the best to you. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: Do you help patients who are not Canadian citizens? ~ Ed Dear Ed: Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, no, we are not able to help patients who are not currently Canadian citizens. We never have enough funding to help everyone, so our eligibility guidelines restrict us to assisting Canadian citizens only. Permanent residents do not fall under the category of Canadian citizens. We realize this may be disappointing news to some patients and their families however we do have a resource to check out here:  https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/new-immigrants/pr-card/understand-pr-status.html. We wish everyone all the best during their difficult time. ~ Sunny
  Dear  Sunny: If I submit an application for the Rainy Day Fund one month and then want to reapply another month, do I have to completely redo the entire application document? Or can I just resend the exact same forms? ~ A Patient Dear Patient: This is a great question that we are asked often. Yes, your referring healthcare professional needs to reapply on your behalf each and every month, even if you are asking for the same request such as a grocery gift card. Circumstances can change for patients from month to month, so this is important to realize. Be sure to update any new medical information, provide any new overdue bills or disconnection/eviction notices, letters from your landlord/utility provider and narrative letter. ~ Sunny
 

Maximum Funding Provided To Patients:

  Dear Sunny: I recently applied for funding towards the end of the year and received the full amount accessible to patients, $1,500. Since I maxed out my funding last year does this mean I am not eligible for help now since it’s so close to when I maxed myself out? Do I have to wait a full 12 months before I apply again? I really need help so I would appreciate the clarification. ~ Returning Patient Dear Returning Patient: Not at all! As you mentioned, we do have a maximum amount available to patients per calendar year, $1,500. But this means exactly that, per calendar year. Since you used the full amount accessible during your request last year, we could not have assisted you again in that calendar year. However, now that it is a new year we can absolutely consider your applications! Please understand though, previous approval does not guarantee continued approval. Each application must be considered individually as often things can change between submissions. Make sure that all forms are up to date and are accurate. Beyond that, you can apply as often as you need! ~ Sunny
 

Number of Times Patients Can Apply:

  Dear Sunny: I am a kidney failure patient undergoing dialysis 4 times a week and I am falling behind on some of my utility bills. Can I apply for the Rainy Day Fund more than once or can I only apply the one time? ~ In Need Dear In Need: This is a great question. A maximum funding award of $1,500 is available per patient, per calendar year whether you receive this amount all at once, or over the course of the year. If your first application requests less than $1,500 then you may apply as often as needed, until you reach the maximum amount. Please remember that even if you meet eligibility requirements, we unfortunately cannot guarantee your applications will be approved. ~ Sunny

 

Reasons for Declined Applications:

  Dear Sunny: Thank goodness you cover medical parking expenses! This is so costly! I am confused though, because I submitted my receipts each time, I had an appointment but have never been reimbursed. My bills were only around $20 each, but they really did add up. Is there a reason why I have not been reimbursed? ~ Confused Dear Confused: I am so glad you asked this question. We would love to be able to reimburse you with every receipt you send us. Unfortunately, with minimal office staff and a limited budget, we need to be very careful how staff use their time and spend money. It is time consuming to review and process each request, and the cost of writing cheques and purchasing stamps adds up quickly. When we are careful we can help many more people, so we operate on a shoestring budget. Please save your receipts until they add up to $100 or more. This should improve your chances of being helped. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I hear that not every patient family is approved for funding and some are declined. How do you decide which families to help? ~ Inquiring Mind Dear Inquiring Mind: You are correct. We unfortunately cannot approve everyone for funding and there are a few reasons why. First, we have strict selection criteria to follow. Patients need to meet the following criteria: be diagnosed with life-threatening illness, household income under $60,000, be a Canadian citizen, be referred by their healthcare professional (i.e., social worker, caseworker, nurse, Child Life Specialist, physician), diagnosis must have caused severe financial challenges (as per testimonial from referring healthcare professional), rent and/or utility bills must be overdue by 30 days or more, they cannot afford to purchase groceries and/or hospital parking. Second, copies of overdue rent and utilities, parking receipts and dates of appointments must be included with the patient application. Third, if we do not have enough funding to approve all applicants, we prioritize those with notices of eviction and utility disconnections. We also may prioritize households with children. Finally, at times we are required to align certain funders with patients living in specific geographic regions or provinces. Our goal is to help alleviate some of the resulting social, emotional, and financial challenges arising from a health crisis, so patients can remain in their own homes and focus on recovery. Thank you for asking this great question! ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: My case worker submitted my application form, and my utility bills for the month of April, but unfortunately it has never been reimbursed and my grocery card was denied too. Can you please tell me why? Thanks in advance and have a wonderful day. ~ R Dear R: Thank you for your email.  The Foundation receives 100s of applications from across Canada every month and we wish we could fund all of them, but the reality is we just don’t have the funding to approve all requests.  It appears you received some assistance in January, February, and March. We needed to help other families just like you that are in dire need.   We have to spread the funding among many different families who have eviction notices and utility disconnection notices.  We hope you appreciate the difficult choices we must make and understand the unfortunate reality of having to work within a limited budget. Please keep in mind that your social worker may continue to apply on your behalf every month, until to reach the maximum allowance of $1,500 per calendar year. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I have reached out to Shine Through the Rain a few times this year for help, some months I have been approved and others I was declined. Am I only allowed to apply for help a certain amount of times per year? How does this work? ~ Returning Patient Dear Returning Patient: You can have applications submitted on your behalf by your healthcare team as many times in a year as you need help! We have some patients who only need our help once or twice to get back on track, and others who apply on a monthly basis to maintain some normalcy in assistance. It really depends on your situation and your requests. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that our guidelines specify up to $1,500 available to patients per calendar year. This means that there is a max of $1,500 that can be requests for assistance (this is not a guarantee of this amount being received of course). This can be broken up into various requests in a year (ie $100 grocery card in February, $657 towards utility bill in April, remaining amount towards parking receipts in August), it can be provided in one amount to help someone avoid eviction (ie $1,500 towards rent in March), or in many cases the patient never maxes out since their requests are small and scattered ($57 towards only phone in January, $100 grocery card in May, $128 towards power bill in August, remainder towards rent in December). If ever in doubt, reach out to your healthcare team and they should have the answers! If not, they can find out information through our online portal and they know how to contact us for additional clarification. ~ Sunny
 

Did Not Hear Back If Patient Application Was Approved Or Declined:

  Dear Sunny: I recently applied to the Rainy Day Fund on behalf of a patient, but I have not heard any response. I believe I used your online application system which is new. Just wondering if you could look into it for me? ~ New to the Crew Dear New to the Crew: Welcome aboard! You are correct that we have a new online portal for healthcare professionals like you to submit applications on behalf of their patients. To find out if patients are approved, please login to the online portal on the 16th of the month or later, to learn which patients are approved or declined. If patient applications are declined, reasons will be provided~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I applied for some help with my bills through my social worker and I haven’t heard anything back. Does this mean I was declined? ~ Recent Patient Applicant Dear Recent Patient Applicant: Thank you for your inquiry, there are a few possibilities here. To start, allow me to explain our application process. Applications must be submitted by the 15th of every month. It is recommended to apply earlier in the month if possible. If the 15th falls on a weekend, the deadline is the Friday before the 15th. On the 16th of the month or later, the social workers, nurses or case managers can login to our online portal to see if your request was approved. If your application was declined, a reason will be provided. If you have not heard if your application was approved or declined it could be for one of the following reasons:
  1. Consider the date before reaching out to your social worker. Has the 16th of the month passed? If not, we have not yet made our decision and there would be no reason for your social worker to contact you unless they need more information from you.
  2. Is it’s the 16th of the month or later, the social worker may not have checked the online portal yet for the status of your application.
  3. If it’s the 16th of the month or later, your social worker may not have reached out to you yet about the status of your application.
  4. Your application may not have been received through our online portal at all.
In any case, Shine Through the Rain does not have staff available to contact patients or social workers, so we suggest that you reach out to the person who applied on your behalf, so they can check the online portal. ~ Sunny
  

Geographic Locations Served:

  Dear Sunny: I don’t live in Newmarket, Ontario, but I really need your help! Is there any way at all that you might help a desperate family who lives in Newfoundland? ~ Proud Newfoundlander Dear Proud Newfoundlander: I am so happy you asked! Although we just have one office in Newmarket, Ontario, we help patients and their families in all provinces and territories across Canada. Please feel free to have your social worker or any healthcare professional to apply on your behalf. Our online portal is here: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/. ~ Sunny
 

Illnesses Covered:

  Dear Sunny: I was diagnosed with Covid-19 and this has severely crippled my family finances. We had already been struggling financially due to the pandemic like the rest of the country due to loss of jobs and bills still due. Then I tested positive for the disease myself. Can you help us? ~ Patient of the Pandemic Dear Patient of the Pandemic: We are here to help any Canadian citizen with household income under $60,000 who is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, whether that is cancer, Covid-19 or another diagnosis. Please have your healthcare professional (social worker, nurse, Child Life Specialist, physician) visit our website https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/ to apply through our online portal on your behalf. You are not in this alone. ~ Sunny

Camp Scholarships:

  Dear Sunny: I’m a breast cancer patient and I live in Saskatchewan with my hubby and 2 kids, age 15 and 11. I was hoping to apply for the Camp Scholarship program for a summer camp they want to attend. Money is tight normally, so camp is really not something we can afford but I don’t want them to miss out on their childhood because of my illness. The trouble is, they both want to attend a specialized camp in Manitoba for children whose family is touched by cancer. Would we be eligible for the program since we live outside Manitoba? ~ Camper Mom Dear Camper Mom: Thank you so much for your interest in our Camp Scholarship program. We want what you want, to help your children experience some of the best parts of growing up! The location of the camp does not restrict their eligibility at all, as long as the camp is in Canada, we can consider the application!  Please have your healthcare professional apply on your children’s behalf through our online portal here: https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/camp-scholarships/. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: We are a family of 5 and my husband has been undergoing treatment for Stage IV lung cancer. We would really like to send our children to Camp this year. I know that it is late in the season, but is there a chance that we can still get funding to send them to camp for a week in August? Also, do you provide Camp Scholarships for children if they are not the patients? ~ Sincerely, Loving Mom Dear Loving Mom: Thank you for reaching out to us here at Shine Through the Rain. While most children attend a camp or program during the summer, we may still have funding available towards the end of the year (however there are no guarantees). Also, I’m happy to let you know that we try to do our best to provide Camp Scholarships for siblings and children with ill parents. Please feel free to have your social worker submit your applications to us through our online portal here: https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/camp-scholarships/. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: If my child receives a Camp Scholarship will they also get a camp backpack or do I have to apply for that? ~ Mom of a Camper Dear Mom of a Camper: Unfortunately, we had to make the decision to cancel our Camp Backpack Program due to costly shipping fees. ~ Sunny
 

I Would Like Copies Of Past Applications:

  Dear Sunny: I am contacting you on behalf of my mom who is undergoing treatment and would like it if you can help us with our overdue bills. Can you send me all of my mom’s information from last year so that I can copy it and submit it to you again this year? ~ In Need of Help Dear In Need of Help: Our application process has changed. We no longer accept paper applications and all patients must have their healthcare professional submit their applications through our online portal found here:https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/rainydayfund/. Also, due to privacy, we cannot share patient information. The best point of contact is your mother’s healthcare professionals such as a social worker, nurse or physician. ~ Sunny

Christmas Help:

  Dear Sunny: My social worker told me a bit about your Christmas Gift Program but I have a few questions. My children are not pediatric patients, I am the patient. Can they qualify for this program or is it only for children going through treatment? It would also be nice for them to attend the Pediatric Christmas Party. My daughter is 16 and my son is 9; what age is the cut off? Can they both get considered? I feel embarrassed to ask for help like this but with my diagnosis, money is so tight the thought of my kiddos suffering because of my health breaks my heart. I really hope you can help me! ~ Loving Mom Dear Loving Mom: Thank you for this question, and never be embarrassed to ask for help! No matter the season Shine Through the Rain is here to help patients and their families going through a tough time, but especially over the holiday season when money gets extra tight. Your children are absolutely eligible for our Christmas Gift Program and Pediatric Christmas Party. Whether the child is the patient, a sibling or has a diagnosed parent, all children can be impacted by family diagnosis. Please note that the patient’s healthcare professional must refer the children through our online portal for the Pediatric Christmas Party here: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/pediatric-christmas-party/. Children must be a maximum of 18 years of age. Also note that we currently provide gift cards so each child can select the toys or gifts they desire. ~ Sunny

Supporting Documents Required:

  Dear Sunny: I’m hoping to receive some help through the Rainy Day Fund to cover my overdue rent. I know I need to send you a letter from my landlord but what needs to be included in that letter? Thank you in advance! ~ About to be Evicted Dear About to be Evicted: Thank you for asking this question! It’s so important to make sure all required forms and information are included in the application your healthcare professional submits on your behalf through our online portal. If we do not have everything we need like the letter from your landlord, we cannot consider your request. Your landlord’s letter MUST include the following;
  • Overdue balance
  • Number of months overdue
  • Contact information should we have questions
  • Landlord’s full name (first and last name). If approved, the cheque is sent to you but it is made payable in their name.
Make sure to indicate whether you have an eviction notice in your application (Section 3B). If yes, include a copy of the eviction notice with your application. Good luck. ~ Sunny

Information for Donors and Friends:

Restarting Donations:

  Dear Sunny: When the Covid-19 pandemic first started to really gear up and there was a lot of uncertainty, I called and asked for my regular donation to be put on pause. I felt really bad but I just really didn’t know what things would look like financially for the next while and needed to be strategic about holding onto whatever I could. I’m feeling much better about that lately and I’d like to get back into my normal donation routine. Is there a quick way to do that? Or do I have to start from scratch and give all my information again? ~ Returning Donor Dear Returning Donor: First of all, thank you so very much for reaching out to restart your donations. We cannot express how much this means to us. Please don’t feel bad about pausing support, we completely understand your reasons. The entire world was feeling the same way. You should be able to simply reach out to us either by phone or email to reinstate your donations. Let us know your name, donation amount, frequency of your future donations, and any changes to your contact information (including mailing address) since you last reached out. If we have any questions or follow up details required, we will reach out! You can email us at info@shinethroughtherain.ca or call our office at (905) 477 – 7743. ~ Sunny

Looking For Receipt:

  Dear Sunny: I donated $20 to you because I want to help. How come I didn’t get a receipt for my donation? ~ Delighted to Donate Dear Delighted to Donate: Thank you so much for caring enough to help our patients! Please allow me to explain our tax receipting policy. Like most charities, we have a policy of issuing tax receipts for donations of $25 or more. For donations under $25, we unfortunately are unable to issue receipts because of what was discovered after we conducted a cost analysis. With minimal office staff and a limited budget, we need to be very careful how we spend donated dollars. When breaking down the cost to issue tax receipts, the price of each stamp, envelope, paper, ink from the printer plus the cost of staff time, the administration costs to issue receipts for donations under $25 didn’t add up. Given this financial reality (charities still have expenses), we do not think donors want their donation used up to cover the cost of such administration. On a positive note, when multiple donations are made throughout the calendar year (such as monthly donors giving $20 per month) and add up to $25 or more, tax receipts are issued. We hope and trust this reasoning makes sense to our valued donors. All donations are appreciated and make a difference when we are able to get them into the hands of our vulnerable patients and their families. This, we believe, is what our donors intend with their kind donations. Thank you for caring enough to help support the patients and families who need your support. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I donate over $25 a few times a year when I can to Shine Through the Rain and I haven’t received all my tax receipt letters yet. Should I ask you for the receipts or are they coming? Not sure what to do. ~ Tax Receipt Recipient Dear Tax Receipt Recipient: Great question! We understand many donors are beginning to prepare for tax season, so you are not alone in wondering this! We mail out our printed tax receipts in batches on a weekly basis. This means more than likely your letter is on its way to you or being printed and prepared very soon. If you have moved, it’s important to update us to ensure your letter is being mailed to the correct address. We have many donors provide us with their email address to speed up the process so their tax receipts can be emailed directly to them, cutting out delivery time all together. If you would like to take advantage of this time saver, please contact us at info@shinethroughtherain.ca to pass along your email address. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I love donating to Shine Through the Rain and have been for a few months now. I donate enough to receive a tax receipt and was wondering about the amount of mailing and postage cost I’m causing. I’m trying to go a little more green this new year, is there a way for me to help reduce costs by going paperless? ~ Going Green Dear Going Green: What a wonderful new year’s resolution! We can absolutely help you achieve this! If you send us your email address, we will add that to your contact info and can send your documents digitally going forward. You can reach out to us at info@shinethroughtherain.ca to pass along this information. ~ Sunny

How Donations Help Patients:

  Dear Sunny: Is it possible to read about some of the patients you helped over the past year? It’s so heartwarming to know how we made a difference! ~ Big Fan Dear Big Fan: Thank you for caring about our patients and their families! Yes, it is possible to read heartwarming stories. Please check out our website here for several great stories: https://shinethroughtherain.ca/read-stories/. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I donate to a few causes that are especially important to me, Shine Through the Rain being a major one, and I often wonder how foundations and charities do their part to make sure as much of the donations are going to the people in need as possible. What does Shine do to ensure this? ~ Wonderfully Curious donor Dear Wonderfully Curious Donor: Thank you so much for this question, we love chatting with people about how to help make every dime of a donation count! We do a lot in our modest office to ensure every ounce of a donation is going where it should. We kept the lights off on sunny days, turned down our heating on weekends, reused paper in as many ways as we can, digitally sent as much to donors as possible, had a recycling program, limited our postage expenses as much as possible, and worked together to keep the office space clean instead of having a cleaner come in. We also remained a small but mighty team of 2, enlisting the help of our wonderful volunteer community or local students wanting to fulfill their required hours with us when feasible. Currently to reduce costs further we are operating virtually. ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: How is Shine Through the Rain able to help so many families and individuals going through these life-threatening illnesses? It seems so hard to be able to do! I donate here and there when I can but it’s a meager $10! Wish I could do more but have always wondered. ~ Curious and Kind Dear Curious and Kind: We are lucky at Shine Through the Rain to have donors like you who, no matter the amount, are generous enough to donate! No amount is too small or too infrequent, we are grateful for anything we receive. We understand… Life is tough! We are a non-profit foundation funded by private donors and grants. We are not government funded and therefore do not receive funds or assistance from their programs. This means that depending on how many donations we receive each month, this impacts how many families we can help. It is a constant, yet exciting challenge to budget and support as many patients as possible with the help of our amazing donors! Aside from donations, we are able to receive funding through fundraising. This can be done by external sources like local groups wanting to set up stands at grocery stores or in public areas, in schools by way of toy drives or room to room awareness by social justice, peace or equity clubs, as well as through our own foundation by way of online auctions or events. Another major way that we receive funding is through our Sponsorship & Grants department. We reach out and partner with businesses and companies that wish to give back to their communities with larger donations. These donations are often geared towards specific groups such as rural, native, and pediatric applicants to name a few. Everything that comes into Shine Through the Rain makes its way towards helping improve our patients lives, from your $10 to a company’s $10,000! ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: I’ve seen videos made by patients sharing their experiences with Shine Through the Rain and the impact it had for them, but can a donor make a video? I think it would be fun to make one sharing why I like to donate and the way it makes me feel knowing I’m helping families! Would that be possible? ~ Fun and Creative Donor Dear Fun and Creative Donor: What a FABULOUS idea! We would LOVE to see your video! Donors can absolutely create videos capturing why they donate and why they chose Shine Through the Rain Foundation. I’m sure our fellow donors would be inspired by your idea, and I KNOW our patients would love to see the people behind the donations helping them through their tough times. You can email us at info@shinethroughtherain.ca for more ideas on what to include in your video, or just send us the finished product when completed! ~ Sunny
  Dear Sunny: The Covid-19 pandemic has been such a major part of our lives. How is this  impacting Shine Through the Rain Foundation, and how can people help? ~ Caring and Curious Dear Caring and Curious: Like the rest of Canada and the world, Shine Through the Rain was impacted in a variety of ways. We had to change how we operated to maintain a safe work environment while remaining open to ensure patients continued to receive the assistance they rely on. We initially switched to a mainly remote workload, having staff take turns in office to ensure mail was still coming and going as usual for both donors and patients. We continuously adapted to the needs of our patients, working with them and their healthcare teams to make sure that applications were being received and completed within realistic means (accommodating certain restrictions on signatures etc. due to isolation mandates). Currently we are operating remotely. We also spent many hours chatting with donors, some who were upset having to pause donations until the crisis began to change, others who wanted to reach out and ensure us that their donations would remain consistent for the sake of our patients. Both types of conversation were equally heartening and challenging. We are so deeply grateful to our donors for their continued efforts to keep us able to help those who need it most. To answer your question Caring and Curious, about how people can help, they can continue to donate, continue to spread awareness of our cause, and continue to be kind and generous to those who need it most. ~ Sunny
 

Christmas Ideas:

  Dear Sunny: With the Christmas holiday season coming up, do you have any fun ideas to replace the usual cookie exchange with work colleagues and friends? ~ Getting in the Spirit Dear Getting in the Spirit: Yes, we certainly do! Our pediatric patients and their families need your help this year! We have 3 fun ways to get involved which I will describe below:
  • Toy Gift Card Drive – we are accepting donations of gift cards to send our children so they can have something under the tree. Popular gift cards include Amazon, Walmart, Toys R Us and Best Buy in denominations of $25, $50, and $100.
  • Send a Child to the Pediatric Christmas Party – our children are invited to a virtual Christmas Party in December and we want them to attend for free. However, there are costs involved to deliver this program at $180 per family. Santa will visit from the North Pole, there will be a children’s entertainer, music, and other fun activities, including gift opening. This is a great time for the kids to forget about their medical nightmares and just have some fun again like other kids do!
  • Adopt a Family for Christmas – adopt a patient family and take care of their needs for the month of December. You may specific a geographic region or let us select a family who needs your help the most. Costs range from $100 up to $2,000 – you pick your price point. Some families just need a $100 grocery gift card so they can have a nice Christmas dinner with some leftovers. Others need the works with payment of overdue rent or utilities, grocery gift card, payment of hospital parking for the month, toy store gift cards for the kids and attendance at the Pediatric Christmas Party. ~ Sunny

Thanksgiving Ideas:

  Dear Sunny: As we just celebrated Thanksgiving, I am reminded of warm memories of a loved one. How can I remember them while helping a patient in need?  ~ More Than Just Turkey Dear More Than Just Turkey: October is a month of giving thanks and for recalling warm memories. I hope you find comfort. Thank you for thinking of our patients during this season. Please visit https://shinethroughtherain.ca/donate-now/ for various options of interest to you. You will notice that there are various programs to direct your donation to, and there are “in memory of” or “in honour of” options. There is also a field to write us a note. ~ Sunny
 

Volunteering:

  Dear Sunny: I’ve noticed the call for volunteers in recent newsletters and I really want to be one of them! Unfortunately, though, I’m not anywhere near your office in Ontario as I live in British Columbia. Is there a way for me to still help out in some way, other than being a donor? ~ Volunteering Spirit  Dear Volunteering Spirit: We love that you’d like to help!! We can absolutely accommodate your interest in helping us make a difference. There are a few ways this can take place depending on how you’d like to make your impact. During the Covid-19 pandemic, public health precautions and restrictions need to be followed. Here are a few of those options, but the sky is the limit!
  • Research (we often need research done to help us find resources for patient needs or structure our grants to receive funding for our programs)
  • Fundraising on our behalf (this can be monetary donations, gift cards matching our patient needs, or gift cards to toy stores depending on the time of year)
  • Volunteering in local hospitals on our behalf to help spread awareness about our programs
  • Planning an event such as a walk, run, dance marathon or art auction as long as Covid precautions and restrictions are followed
  • Displaying collection canisters for donations at your workplace or local business
  • Holding a car wash, yard sale, bake sale or dinner on our behalf
To start talking about how you’d like to help, contact us at info@shinethroughtherain.ca today! ~ Sunny
 

How Children Can Participate:

  Dear Sunny: My kids are already excited for summer break (as am I, bring on the heat!) and they’ve even now started talking about things they want to do, like have some kind of stand to raise money. They don’t want to do a lemonade stand because they say that’s too “old fashioned” …kids! Instead they’ve been asking me for ideas of ways they can fundraise some cash for kids that aren’t as lucky as them. I immediately thought of your foundation and am wondering what ideas YOU may have! ~ Mom of Wonderfully Entrepreneurial Children Dear Mom of Wonderfully Entrepreneurial Children: What an amazing couple of kids you have! This is AMAZING that they thought to help others their age. If a lemonade stand is too old school for them there are many ways they can put the “FUN” in fundraise! Maybe a bake sale? Car wash? Lawn cutting or dog walking for neighbors (depending on their age of course). Take a peek at our website; https://www.shinethroughtherain.ca/diy-fundraisers/  to check out our DIY Fundraising Event Booklet and Kid Friendly Fundraising 101 pamphlet as well! It sounds like you have very kind and creative kids on your hands, so I’m sure these ideas will spur on a flood of new options for them.  We so look forward to seeing what they come up with and how much fun they have!! Please be mindful of any Covid-19 precautions and restrictions. ~ Sunny