It started with a bottle drive over a decade ago and evolved into a year-round engagement that, in recent years, nets, on average, $1.8-million annually to support the fight against blood cancers. This collective effort brings together The Beer Store’s leadership, employees and customers as well as a number of valued partners, says Ted Moroz, president of The Beer Store.
“We are proud of our core values – and one of them is giving back to the community,” he explains. “We support a number of charities and have chosen blood cancers as our main cause, in which everyone – every store and every distribution centre – is getting involved.”
The Beer Store’s fundraising efforts in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) started in 2006 in partnership with the United Food and Commercial Workers of Canada (UFCW) Local 12R24 – the union representing the company’s approximately 5,000 unionized employees. “We’ve always had a great rapport with the UFCW, which has been partnering with LLSC for several decades,” says Mr. Moroz. “When they approached us and said, ‘Do you think there is something we could do together to support our charity?’ we said, ‘Absolutely.’”
The Beer Store planned to build on its success with bottle drives and asked employees to consider volunteering for the event. “Our volunteers stood outside our stores and asked customers if they would graciously donate any portion of their empties returns to the cause,” he says. “We then looked after the rest: delivering the empties back to brewers and recyclers, collecting the funds and getting them to the right place.”
The first year, an amount of about $250,000 was raised, and the initiative gained momentum from there, says Mr. Moroz. “It got bigger every year, and we continue with the Returns for Leukemia Bottle Drive in more than 450 retail locations across Ontario every May. But another thing started to happen – the campaign became a rallying point for our employees. There was also some friendly competition going on.”
In addition to the annual bottle drive, people got creative, organizing events like “golf, bowling, curling and softball tournaments, battles of the bands, comedy nights, bike rides and walks,” says Mr. Moroz. “It became this amazing movement in partnership with Local 12R24.”
Mr. Moroz, who signed up for volunteer work with the LLSC and joined the charity’s board of directors, says, “It’s wonderful to see the impact [of our fundraising]. We support many great researchers who work to find better therapies and cures as well as outreach to blood cancer patients and their families throughout Canada.”
Inspired to participate? Customers of The Beer Store can donate the proceeds of their empties to the LLSC all year round.
This content was produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.