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Boston Pizza: Chewing For Charity

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Boston Pizza has been locally owned and operated for 34 years, and giving back to our city has always been something we take pride in, because of the continued support our guests give us.  Boston Pizza Guests have been helping to raise money for the BP Foundation which contributes to the health and well being of at risk children. To date the foundation has donated over $22 million to charities and communities across the country and around the world. Boston Pizza believes that every child has the ability to make a difference in the world, and that strong role models inspire kids to be great. In 2014 the foundation created “Future Prospects” to focus our efforts on supporting youth in our communities, in partnership with organizations like Big Brother’s Big Sisters, Kids Help Phone, JDRF, Live Different and the Rick Hanson Foundation.

Each year Boston Pizza runs 2 promotions nationally; the Heart Campaign and the Kids Cards Campaign, to help raise money for Future Prospects. What you may not know is that 15% of the total funds we raise from these promotions comes back to us and is donated locally.

Our heart Campaign runs for approximately one month leading up to Valentine’s day, and the focus is on providing kids with positive role models. We aim to raise enough funds to provide kids in need with over 100,000 hours of guidance and inspiration. Boston Pizza and Future Prospects believe that kids with positive role models are more likely to be employed, receive post secondary education, stay healthy, and feel happy and confident. With every $5 donation we can provide 1 hour of guidance to a child in need. This year we raised over $8000 between the 2 Fort McMurray stores which means $1200 will be returned to YMM and donated locally.

The Kids card campaign is always a guest favorite come the fall. With a $5 donation, you receive 5 free kid’s meals, with the entire $5 donation going towards Future Prospects. Not only are our guests donating to a great cause, they are also receiving over $30 in value with the free kid’s meals. A win win for everyone! Last year we raised $14,535.00 locally and we hope to blow that number out of the water this coming year.

With so many amazing charitable organizations and non-for profits in YMM we have always had a hard time deciding what to do with the funds that are returned to us, which is where our idea for Chew for Charity came about. Chew for Charity is an event where local charities come together for an eating competition, with the winner taking the cash prize back to their organization. Our first event held in 2015 was a spaghetti eating contest between 7 local charities, Santa’s Anonymous was our big winner that year and took home the grand prize.  This past November we held our 2nd Annual event which we are sure will go down as our most memorable.   After the devastation of the wildfires we saw so much generosity from our Boston Pizza families across the Nation as well as from Future Prospects, and they topped up our funds to an astounding $80,000.00. We had 12 local charities join us, but kept our grand total a secret so we could surprise everyone on the day of the event.  The competition this time was to see who could eat a medium thin crust cheese pizza the fastest, and Cody Ivey, a representative from FuseSocial managed to finish it in a remarkable 3.5 minutes… someone sure does love pizza.  Of course, we wanted everyone to go home a winner so we awarded 1st place with $25,000.00 and the other participating charities with $5000. We also held a 50/50 draw and had door prizes to add to the excitement of the evening. We are hoping next year can be just as exciting, and the more donations we receive from the Heart Campaign and Kids Card Promotion the more we can give back to this amazing community.  We know that $80,000.00 raised locally will be almost impossible but we have never been ones to not dream big, and we hope to still raise a very generous amount for this year’s event.

Trying to maximize our fundraising efforts this year we will be doing additional fundraisers to help fund our chew for charity with 100% of those funds being kept locally. Starting in March we will be having a wine of the month, where $5 from every bottle sold will go towards our Chew for Charity fund. Our staff are also big contributors by donating their own money for dress down days at the stores.  Please follow our Twitter account, @BPFortMcMurrray and like our Facebook page, Boston Pizza-Timberlea & Downtown Fort McMurray to keep up with our initiatives.  There is nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to our community, and we want to make Chew for Charity and annual event that gets bigger and better each year.