Grocery Foundation upgrades Toonies for Tummies

Media partnership with Rogers, student summit highlight plans for 2017

The Grocery Foundation has announced a series of upgrades to its popular checkout-donation program Toonies for Tummies, which is returning for its 13th year in February.

This year’s iteration of the program surpassed its fundraising goals, raising more than $615,000 to be distributed to approximately 4,500 food-nutrition programs across the province.

Among the key changes for the 2017 Toonies for Tummies campaign is a further expansion of the Agents of Change Summit that debuted this year.

That platform saw 11 students from different regions of Ontario travel to Toronto, where they made presentations to grocery industry representatives about the food nutrition programs in their area.

The Grocery Foundation’s executive director, Michelle Scott, said that the Feb. 8 Summit helped the industry identify nearly 100 areas where programs could be enhanced or refined. They'll be explored further this fall.

The 2017 campaign will also see sponsor brands featured in on on-air segments on Rogers' CityTV's Breakfast Television, continuing an approach introduced this year. Cityline host Tracy Moore, who is returning as campaign ambassador, will also appear in on-air segments promoting the program.

Gabby Nobrega, principal of Toronto’s Breakthrough Communications,  which oversees marketing and promotion for Toonies for Tummies, said that the partnership with Rogers and other like-minded organizations can be hugely influential in raising the profile of Toonies for Tummies. (Rogers Publishing is the owner of Canadian Grocer.)

“What The Grocery Foundation is looking to do is elevate the conversation around student nutrition,” said Nobrega, citing the success of Bell Let’s Talk as an example of the power of these types of partnerships.

“It’s one thing to do a paid campaign, but it’s another thing for the industry and the public to say ‘This is an important issue,’ ” she said.

“Most people still don’t understand the impact of that toonie: It changes behaviour, it changes grades… so what we’re increasingly looking to do through the media partnerships we’re building is certainly raise funds, but get Canadians to have a better understanding of how those funds are shaping better futures," Nobrega said.

In addition to marketing and PR support, The Grocery Foundation is also layering in significant in-store promotion for Toonies for Tummies, including a flyer and on-shelf recognition for sponsor brands (13 brands, including Gold Fish Crackers, Quaker Oats and Black Diamond Cheese, each paid a $20,000 sponsorship fee this year).

Established in 1979, The Grocery Foundation is comprised of retailers, manufacturers and food brokers working together to provide assistance to children across the province. The organization has raised more than of $85 million through fundraising initiatives such as Toonies for Tummies and the annual Night to Nurture Gala.

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