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Toonies for Tummies doubles store count thanks to Empire Company

Banners such as Sobeys, IGA and Safeway will participate in 2020 fundraising campaign

The Grocery Foundation’s annual Toonies for Tummies campaign got a big boost from Empire Company Ltd., whose banners are participating in the program to raise funds for school-based nutrition programs.

Sobeys, IGA, Thrifty Foods and Safeway will take part in the program in Western Canada (B.C., Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and northwest Ontario) for the first time. (Toonies for Tummies expanded out West three years ago.) In Ontario, Sobeys and Foodland stores will return to the campaign after a several-year absence.

The addition of the Empire Company banners effectively doubles the number of participating locations. “We go from 550 to 1100 stores... so that is huge in terms of our ability to collect donations,” says Shaun McKenna, executive director of The Grocery Foundation. Of the 550 Empire Company stores that are coming on board, 300 are in the West and 250 are in Ontario, he adds.

Other participating grocers in Ontario are Metro, Food Basics and Longo’s, as well as a number of independents. In Western Canada, Save-On-Foods, Buy-Low Foods and Nester’s Market are part of the campaign.

The 2019 Toonies for Tummies campaign, which asks shoppers for $2 at checkout, raised a record-breaking $1.5 million, 25% over the goal and 42% over the previous year’s donations. The next Toonies for Tummies campaign will take place in early 2020.

One unique aspect of Toonies for Tummies is The Grocery Foundation’s ability to hyper-target donations so they remain in the communities where they’re made. Shoppers can donate $2 at checkout and track their donation on a campaign microsite. The site spotlights the participating retailers and sponsors, along with stories that underscore the impact of donations. According to The Grocery Foundation, it’s estimated that one in five children in Canada attends school hungry, and in some communities, the incidence is higher.

“Toonies for Tummies is just another example of the grocery industry collaborating together and a significant number of Canadian children stand to benefit from this,” says McKenna.


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