Hershey Canada and BGC Canada (formerly Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada) have partnered once again for Pink Shirt Day. The two are hosting an event at BGC St. Alban’s Club in Toronto on Feb. 22 from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. to help raise awareness.
Hershey has also given funding to 20 additional BGC Clubs across Canada to help run Pink Shirt Day events along with Pink Shirt Day toolkits that feature activities and resources for club youth.
Pink Shirt Day is dedicated to spreading the message of anti-bullying each year. The initiative began in 2007 and was inspired by David Shepherd, Travis Price and friends at their high-school in small-town Nova Scotia who organized a protest to wear pink in support of a Grade 9 boy who was bullied for wearing a pink shirt. People in nearly 180 countries now share their support on the day through social media posts and donations.
"At BGC Canada, belonging is one of our core values and also at the heart of Pink Shirt Day and our partnership with Hershey," says Rachael MacKenzie-Neill, vice-president of marketing and development for BGC Canada. "Hershey is truly creating 'moments of goodness' for young people at our Clubs. Thanks to their generosity, more Clubs than ever are able to celebrate Pink Shirt Day and provide youth the opportunity to learn about the power of diversity and kindness."
Pink Shirt Day is also an important initiative for The Sweeter Together Project, a multi-year partnership between Hershey Canada and BGC Canada. Now in its third year, the project strives to drive inclusivity and a sense of belonging for children and youth across the country.
"We are thrilled to be partnering with BGC Canada for the third year of The Sweeter Together Project and Pink Shirt Day," says Ola Machnowski, senior director of marketing for Hershey Canada. "BGC Canada's mission and mandate is so inspiring, and aligns with Hershey Canada's commitment to making a difference – and Making More Moments of Goodness – in different communities across the country, and globally. Our global company purpose is all about Making More Moments of Goodness, and we are excited to continue seeing this coming to life in our communities.”
This year, The Sweeter Together Project also includes Reese’s DynamicDuo, a tie-in program to Hershey’s NBA partnership that aims to make basketball more accessible for young Canadians. Hershey will refurbish two BGC Club basketball courts and help replace backboards, nets and provide jerseys, shoes and balls to youth.
The partnership is also launching Hershey’s S’mores this summer, an in-store campaign that supports BGC Canada. With every purchase of Hershey’s S’mores Kit, a portion will go toward supporting the efforts of BGC Canada (up to a maximum of $40,000).
BGC Canada was created over a century ago, and has supported Canadian kids and teens by creating opportunities for their mental wellness, job readiness, social development and more. BGC is Canada’s biggest child and youth charitable organization and has 736 locations in small towns and cities nationwide.