Toonies for Tummies keeps on growing

Fundraising campaign puts a big focus on student engagement

The Grocery Foundation’s annual Toonies for Tummies is almost a wrap, and organizers say the campaign has reached more than 65% of its $650,000 goal in Ontario.

Toonies for Tummies, which runs Feb. 9 to Feb. 23, raises money for children’s breakfast programs by asking shoppers to donate $2 at the checkout.

“It’s growing every day… so, great support is coming from the community,” says Michelle Scott, executive director of The Grocery Foundation. “Even though we’re at 65% of our goal, we don’t want to take our foot off the gas – we want to keep going.”

Toonies for Tummies has been running in Ontario for 13 years and expanded west for the first time this year.

More than 150 Save-On-Foods stores are participating in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, with the goal of raising $200,000. In Ontario, nearly 350 stores are participating including Metro, Food Basics, Longo’s and 60 independent grocers.

The Grocery Foundation has been supporting Toonies for Tummies with a PSA that focuses on the impact of the program, such improved health and test scores. There’s also a media partnership with Rogers, which includes segments on CityTV’s Breakfast Television and Cityline.

As part of its social media efforts, the foundation held a Twitter chat on Feb. 1 that resulted in more than 5,000 tweets and a reach of 5.4 million.

While there is a big marketing push, The Grocery Foundation is also taking a more grassroots approach by engaging high-school students. Currently, 11 students from across the province, who belong to the foundation’s Agents of Change initiative, are planning and leading Toonies for Tummies events in their schools. For example, a couple of students are holding movie screenings.

“We’re not dictating to them how they bring student nutrition to life,” says Gabby Nobrega, principal of Breakthrough Communications, which oversees marketing and PR for Toonies for Tummies. “We’re saying to them, ‘we want to empower you to do something in your community—you tell us what that looks like and how we can support you.’”

The Grocery Foundation also invited students from across Ontario to submit their thoughts on the importance of student nutrition and its connection to success and wellbeing. The entries are being profiled on the foundation’s blog throughout the campaign.

Fourteen sponsor brands are part of this year’s campaign including Allen’s, Chef Boyardee, Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, Tropicana and Quaker.

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