Tim Hortons and its 1,500 restaurant owners across Canada are preparing to launch a limited-time fundraising donut with 100 per cent of proceeds being donated to Indigenous organizations that support residential school survivors. The Orange Sprinkle Donut will go on sale at participating restaurants starting Sept. 30, which is Orange Shirt Day. Through Oct. 6, 100 per cent of the donut’s retail price (excluding taxes) will be donated to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
This campaign was developed with a group of Indigenous Tim Hortons who selected two important organizations to support. We connected with Angela White, Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, to talk about how the Orange Sprinkle Donut will support the organization.
For more than 20 years, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society has strived to ensure that residential school survivors and their descendants don’t have to deal with the trauma they experienced alone.
That work has not slowed during the pandemic.
“We moved to virtual one-on-one supports — including a 24-hour crisis line — during the pandemic. This has allowed us to ensure we reach as many former students of Indian residential schools as we can across Canada. We never turn anyone away; it takes courage to extend a hand for help and we intend to be there when they do,” says Angela White, Executive Director of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
The B.C.-based organization’s experienced counsellors are on-hand at all hours to listen to callers in crisis, de-escalate tense situations, and potentially provide resources on appropriate followup treatments, including clinical therapy and traditional healing methods.
Angela – a descendent of residential school survivors herself – says the staff on the other end of the hotline usually has first-hand experience with trauma. That shared experience can sometimes make all the difference in the world to someone who is suffering.
Starting on Sept. 30th– Orange Shirt Day – and through Oct. 6th, participating Tim Hortons restaurants across Canada will be selling an orange-sprinkled donut with 100 per cent of the retail price (excluding taxes) being donated to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
We spoke with Angela about the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and how the Tim Hortons fundraiser will support its work.
How does the Indian Residential School Survivors Society’s crisis support hotline work? Why is it effective?
When people call in, they get someone who is compassionate, empathetic and gives a listening ear to what they have to say. Our crisis line workers say that really allows people to share their experiences.
People are really glad that it’s there and that they have someone who understands what they’re going through. The crisis line workers are Indigenous, and there’s no need for re-education – people who call about their experiences know that they’ll be believed by our workers.
Sometimes, it’s really just about lending an ear. We want people to feel safe sharing their life experience.
It doesn’t end with the call – crisis line workers can also help callers get resources on other treatments?
The first step is making sure that the people who are calling in are grounded – they’re not stewing in their own trauma, so to speak. Once they’re grounded, it’s up to the crisis line workers to make assessments to see if there’s someone else available to assist them, whether that’s a traditional knowledge keeper or someone else – it’s all dependent on the person and what they’re requesting.
A lot of people use our temporary one-on-one counselling services while they get into queue to wait for a long-term therapist. Some people prefer traditional methods – so, getting out on the land and water and getting back into the traditional ways of healing. Sometimes that’s exactly what people need to start that journey of peeling back those traumatic layers.
It’s really up to each individual person. We’re not there to prescribe something for people. It’s about them taking that journey, figuring out what’s best for them, and sitting with them side-by-side to help them make those choices for themselves.
Helping people process all of this pain must not be easy. How do you and your staff deal with that?
You do have to focus on your own self-care. For me, it’s family time. Being with my spouse and my kids and my grandchildren – that’s what works for me. Other staff would say it’s about getting out onto the land or water and doing the cultural connections that they need.
A lot of it stems from the act of forgiveness and trying to find that place of forgiveness, not just for ourselves, but for others who have harmed us along the way as well.
And for the people who do this work, it really is about the successes. We’ve had many instances where you can actually point out in your own journey how you’ve helped people to see their light of forgiveness and to understand their parents and grandparents.
You start helping people see that when we’re in a moment of grief and loss, as long as we acknowledge it and deal with it in a healthy way, there is light at the end of the tunnel. That’s exactly why our workers do as good of a job as they do.
The Orange Sprinkle Donut will go on sale at participating restaurants starting Sept. 30, which is Orange Shirt Day. Through Oct. 6, 100 per cent of the donut’s retail price (excluding taxes) will be donated to the Orange Shirt Society and the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
For more information about the Orange Shirt Society and Orange Shirt Day visit https://www.orangeshirtday.org.
For more information about the Indian Residential School Survivors Society visit https://www.irsss.ca.