Niagara-on-the-Lake students raise $40,000 for homeless selling toques

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Published April 21, 2023 at 11:46 am

Caps - or rather, toques - off to this class of students from Niagara College’s School of Business and Management who were among those who raised funds for Raising the Roof through toque sales. (Photo: Niagara College)

Niagara College Business students on the Niagara-on-the-Lake campus raised $40,000 for the homeless in an unique class project that saw them selling toques for the cause.

The project, dubbed “Raising the Roof’s Toque Campaign,” saw a St. Catharines student, Sarah Gowan, win the ‘golden hat’ for being the overall top student seller after she raised $460 by selling toques at the College’s career fair, and by reaching out to family, friends and various groups with which she is involved.

“I think this was a great hands-on class assignment; everyone got real world experience with selling and, in the process, supported a great cause,” said the first year Business Sales and Marketing student.

“This activity definitely helped me build my confidence as a salesperson and really reminded me that staying dedicated pays off. Nearly everywhere I’d go I would bring a few hats with me,” said Gowan, adding that many in the community around her want to help the homeless but don’t know how.

“Through the hats, they were able to have an easy way to make a direct impact in helping out their community.”

This year, they far out-matched their previous sales total, said one professor. “We usually collect around $25,000-$28,000 every winter but, this year, our students topped all charts at $40,000,” said Professor Monique Finley, who teaches a class who participated in this year’s toque sales.

More than 350 School of Business and Management students began selling the toques in late January and by the time the project wrapped up five weeks later, the students sold more than 1,000 toques.

“We are so thrilled with how this project went and the amazing fundraising done by the students,” said Shoshana Coodin, Marketing Manager, Raising the Roof. “This year was better than ever, with the students raising nearly $40,000 which is above and beyond what the classes have done before through this partnership.”

The collaboration between Raising the Roof and Niagara College started years more than eight years ago and students have raised more than $175,000 over the years.


Top-selling NC student Sarah Gowan and Raising the Roof representative Leslie Billingham pose with toques.

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