The home of the Blue Jays is set to become the temporary home to 10 million pounds of food, as Rogers and Jays Care Foundation support Food Banks Canada with the new initiative Step Up to the Plate. With food banks continuing to battle food donation shortages and significant drops in volunteers, Rogers Centre will house 6,000 pallets of food that will be sorted into food hampers on the field and delivered across the country to families in need.
Each hamper will be filled with a variety of non-perishable food items, providing one individual with a week’s worth of food. Hundreds of Rogers employees and their families will be volunteering to stuff the food hampers as part of Rogers’s annual “Give Together” volunteer program, with hundreds more Rogers employees across the country volunteering as the food hampers make their way to local food banks throughout Canada. The company will also be tapping its personalized mobile retail team, Rogers Pro On-the-Go™, to help with deliveries on the ground. The goal is to fill 390,000 hampers, for a total of 8 million meals.
“At Rogers, we consider all Canadians to be part of our extended family and we believe we have a responsibility to give back and help our family members in need,” said Melinda Rogers-Hixon, Deputy Chairman of the Board, Rogers Communications. “With Rogers Centre vacant until baseball returns, we have an exciting opportunity to open our pantry of assets and offer a much-needed resource for Food Banks Canada.”
“We have a strong tradition of community service at Rogers, and our 25,000 strong team members across the country are here to give together and give back to Canadians when they need it most. Along with our employees, customers, and fans, we have already contributed more than 2 million meals to Food Banks Canada through COVID-19 and we are excited to roll up our sleeves to help fill more plates for Canadians relying on these donations,” added Joe Natale, President & CEO, Rogers Communications.
Step Up to the Plate is an extension of Rogers’s initiative in March, in which the company launched a national awareness and fundraising campaign for Food Banks Canada through its media assets. Rogers is focused on supporting the most vulnerable through this pandemic and beyond, as COVID-19’s economic impacts are expected to last for quite some time after the lifting of current regulations.
“With millions unemployed and businesses closing every day, we are grateful to Rogers and Jays Care Foundation for stepping in – and up – to make this help possible at Rogers Centre,” said Chris Hatch, CEO, Food Banks Canada.
This is the 36th consecutive year that the Blue Jays have supported Food Banks Canada, marked by the annual Lady Jays Food Drive – the ballclub’s longest-running community initiative.
“Jays Care proudly works to level the playing field for more than 35,000 vulnerable children and youth every year and many of our programs provide nutritious meals to kids in communities across Canada,” said Robert Witchel, Executive Director, Jays Care Foundation. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionately harsh impact on Canadians who were already facing hardships. In response, we doubled down on our efforts to address food insecurity in communities and, together with our partners and fans, have contributed more than 1.5 million meals. We’re excited to join Rogers and leverage our ballpark to provide even more meals to Canadians in need.”
Rogers consulted Toronto Public Health to ensure all necessary precautions are taken for the health and safety of the volunteers and all those involved in the Step Up to the Plate program.
Canadians who can help make a contribution of any size to Food Banks Canada are asked to visit foodbankscanada.ca.