Law firm challenge brings in $200K

The numbers are in, and the law firm challenge for Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank took in about $200,000 this year.

The total of cash, online, and food donations came from 39 participating law firms in the annual event in support of the food bank.

When it comes to individual law firm numbers, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, whose articling students help organize the event, came out on top at $30,224. Next was McCarthy Tétrault LLP at $27,190, and Stikeman Elliott LLP at $18,791.

During the challenge, Blakes held weekly events that included a bake sale, a grilled cheese sale, and a raffle. It also held a celebrity pie duel in which senior members of the firm took pies in the face. That popular event took in $17,000 alone.

On a per-capita basis, the top firms were restructuring and litigation firm Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP at $165.84 for every lawyer, student, and staff was tops; commercial boutique Owens Wright LLP at $134.14 was next; and personal injury and insurance litigation firm Benson Percival Brown LLP third at $96.41. It’s the 12th year Blakes has organized the law firm challenge.

“It’s our biggest third-party event,” says Gail Nyberg, executive director of the Daily Bread Food Bank. Last year, she notes, the law firm challenge brought in $228,000 and more than 3,000 kilograms of food.

“That’s a significant number,” says Nyberg, noting that amount provides for about 38,000 client visits. The goal this year, she adds, was $250,000.

And the law firm challenge is a unique event, according to Nyberg.

“Rogers isn’t challenging Bell, for example. I think these law firms are a competitive lot and like to do these sorts of challenges,” she says, noting there’s no similar challenge for other professionals like doctors or dentists.

According to Blakes, the law firm challenge has raised more than $2 million over the years. It’s an event, says Nyberg, that has grown over time given that it now regularly raises more than $200,000 each year.

“It’s gotten much bigger,” she says.

And that’s a good thing, she adds, given the growth in food bank use since the 2008 economic downturn. The numbers have stabilized since then, and on the positive side, fewer children are showing up.

“So the need continues to be high,” says Nyberg. “The good news is we’re seeing fewer children. . . . That’s some good news that those numbers have dropped.”

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