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Jennifer Twiner McCarron, front, CEO of Thunderbird Entertainment and subsidiary Atomic Cartoons, with staff Colin Beadle, back left to right, Kailey Moore and Brianna Smith, as they hold copies of the Atomic Cookbook, in Vancouver, on Sept. 8, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The organizers: Staff at Atomic Cartoons

The pitch: Producing a cookbook to raise money for food programs

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit last spring, Vancouver-based Atomic Cartoons was among the few companies that not only managed to stay in business but also saw sales climb.

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The company produces programs such as The Last Kids On Earth, Molly of Denali and Hello Ninja for Netflix, Nickelodeon, Disney and others, and demand for content has soared during the pandemic as people spend more time at home.

“A lot of people in our organization were feeling very grateful that we’re in an industry that was still able to work,” said Atomic’s chief executive Jennifer Twiner McCarron. “But we all know people who are wondering how they are going to get by.”

The company’s roughly 1,000 employees banded together to come up with something they could do for the community. They decided to design a cookbook and collected 80 recipes from friends and family.

The Atomic Cookbook sells for $22 and proceeds are donated to the Giustra Foundation, which has been working with a number of non-profit organizations in Vancouver to provide healthy meals to vulnerable people during the pandemic. The foundation was established by Frank Giustra, the founder of Lionsgate Entertainment, who is also a major shareholder and a director of Atomic’s parent company, Vancouver-based Thunderbird Entertainment Group.

Staff have sold more than 140 books so far and their goal is to sell 1,000. The company is considering printing more copies once the first batch is gone. Buyers receive a hard copy of the book, as well as a digital edition.

“We’re very aware that we have a privileged seat to be sitting in,” Ms. Twiner McCarron said. “Not because we are visionaries, but because we were lucky to be able to work, and places like Netflix and Disney and all of our buyers are booming right now. ... We’re trying to, as an organization, practise a real attitude of gratitude.”


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