You might remember us.
My name is Avi and my partner Carly and I own Soupa Cafe located in Victoria BC.
As legend would have it, the gift of music was started because of a post made by a stranger in our local community in a facebook group, this was 2018.
What Is The Gift Of Music?
The Gift of Music is a program created by Soupa Cafe which we operate during the end of year season, the aim of the program is to get as many instruments in to the hands of children as possible for Dec 24th.
When Did This Start?
The Gift of Music started in October 2018, you can read more about how it started and why it started here.
In Dec 2018 Soupa Cafe helped donate 5 guitars to families without much for Christmas, it was a heart warming moment but we couldn't have done it without YOU. So we extend a HUGE THANK YOU to all of you, Victoria.
In 2019 we returned with The Gift of Music and donated over 35 instruments to our community, once again, only because of the input of locals and local businesses combined. In 2021 we returned again with over 100 guitars finding new families!
Where Do The Instruments Come From?
The instruments are donated by our community. Soupa Cafe asks the community every year to donate their unused musical instruments. Perhaps there is a guitar sitting in a corner some where that is never played, maybe you meant to learn but never did or perhaps you stopped playing years ago and now the guitar is collecting dust. We take all musical instruments for the Gift of Music and with the help of locally owned Guitars Plus we have been able to restring old guitars and make them like new, Kurt Phillips (Owner of Guitars Plus) has been so kind and giving, Guitars Plus also repaired damaged instruments to make them like new, ready to be gifted.
We also ran a fundraiser in 2019 which raised $655 and Soupa Cafe donated $400 once the fundraiser ended, we took this money to Long and McQuade Victoria to see Mike Arensen who helped us out with discount pricing and free instruments. We never thought we would be able to buy so many brand new guitars, but thanks to the generosity of our community and Mike at Long and McQuade we bought all of these!!!
Last year we raised over $3600 and gained 116 instruments to gift away. Some needed repair beyond our scope of help but over 100 were able to find new homes.
Right - Mike Arensen, Long and McQuade Victoria staff
Left but one - Avi Lugassy Soupa Cafe
Pictured: One room of the guitars. The guitars consumed 3 rooms during re-stringing and it took a combined total of around 20 volunteers to wrap guitars, re string guitars, wrap additional gifts and help in countless ways to make the event happen.
How Do The Instruments Get Allocated
In the interest of keeping it fair to everyone we place a draw on facebook and families enter there. We put those names in to a tumbler and draw as many names as we have guitars.
Do All Families Receive The Same Guitars Or Instruments?
No. We speak with each family and as best we can, we match the child to the instrument and where possible, even the colour. Then, every guitar is labeled and we prepare it to be wrapped. Some guitars have cases, some new guitars come in boxes and some guitars have neither. In some cases we use a bow and where possible we actually wrap the entire guitar.
What Happens If Guitars or Instruments Are Left Over or Behind?
We simply gift them during the year to locals or school clubs
An Unexpected Gift
After looking for a guitar online this family was surprised to get a response from Soupa Cafe, what could a local restaurant possibly have to do with guitars?
This guitar was never collected and we thought it would appreciate a new home and there you have it, a happy home was found indeed.
Pictured: Parent having as much fun as their children
How Can You Help and Where Will Your Money Go?
You can help by:
Donating an instrument
Sponsoring us with your company
Donating accessories such as tuners or guitar carry cases
If you're not able to help with a donation above you can always donate money.
All money donated will be spent on new instruments, tuners, bags and other necessities to be able to gift kids a new dream this Dec 24th.
Why Are We Raising $3000?
We don't doubt that we will get some in-store donations of used instruments, last year a very kind couple called Bruce and Karen bought two brand new guitars too:
We received around 35 new and used instruments in 2019, during 2020 sadly we didn't openly do the Gift of Music though we did specifically gift a brand new guitar to a local family who had recently moved to Canada and didn't have much. So, that said, we wanted to do more last year than ever and that was taken away from us with Covid, so this year we really have a lot of making up to do.
$5000 will buy us roughly 28-35 new guitars depending on what kind of deal we get, we will update this post to make this very specific in the following days.
We hope to receive at least 25 donated instruments and as always we will pdonate $400 from our brands too.
So long story short.. We would like to gift at least 50 guitars and instruments this December 24th.
What about the other siblings?
Last year we bought additional gifts and wrapped them and placed them in a huge sack under the tree, siblings were allowed to come and collect a gift. The gifts were labeled to ensure smaller children got suitable gifts.
Do The Families Have To Eat With Us?
No. The families do not have to eat with us, though on the 24th we encourage our families to come in as a whole family and eat with us for free.
Are There Any Rules To Be Gifted an Instrument?
Yes. We ask that anyone entering the draw be able to bring their child with them to collect their instrument.
Are There Age Restrictions?
The program is primarily aimed at kids.
Will You Be a Part of The Gift Of Music?
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