Community uses a bright, sunny, close to perfect Saturday afternoon to contribute to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart fund.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

May 31st, 2106


How does a large national organization with a brand that is instantly recognized and at one point had a currency that was unique to them work with community organization to help out?

Jumpstart small logoEveryone knows about Canadian Tire and when groups in the community are looking for help and support they frequently ask Canadian Tire.

The requests can get out of hand – how do you say no?

The daughter of the founder of the Canadian Tire operation, Martha Billies came up with an idea that would raise funds to help pay for sports equipment for children whose parents could not afford the price.

She called it Jumpstart which is now in its 11th year.

Brad Gordon, general manager at the Burlington Canadian Tire, explained how it works and some of the funny quirks that crop up when people work at helping each other.

Jumpstart fish pond

While the focus was supposed to be on the fish in the pond – both boys kept looking at all those bicycles

The store set up small play stations throughout the sprawling location and let people just bump into them. There was a free pop corn station, a fishing station and a BBQ stand.

The BBQ station was manned by volunteers from the Ontario correctional service. “These guys have been coming to this event for the past three years – this is the way they volunteer and give back to their community” said Glenn Butt, owner of the franchise who explained that every penny raised goes into the Jumspart fund. All the administrative costs are paid for by the corporation.

The distribution of the funds is done by local chapters that include organizations like the YM and YWCA, the Children’s Aid and Halton Woman’s Place. There are five intake organizations that determine where the needs are.

Harry Bell chairs the chapter that takes care of needs in the Halton – Hamilton communities.

Brad Gibson, store manager in Burlington, moves about the store on a Saturday afternoon seeing much more than most people see with his very practiced eye.

Jumpstart - correctional types

They look pretty tough – they should be – they are officers from the Ontario Correctional Service but last Saturday they were a couple of pussy cats serving burgers to people who were donating to the Jumpstart fund.

He explained that within the Canadian Tire organization there is a high level of competition between the different stores to see who can raise the most at the store level. The Burlington store placed second last year in its market area.

Commercial organizations like Canadian Tire are a focal point for the community – much of what people need to comfortably live their lives is found on their shelves. The company uses their brand to help groups raise funds and contributes in its own way to helping people who need help.

jumpstart Canadian Tire

The growth of the Jumpstart fund has been impressive – every dollar collected in the Burlington community is spent in the Burlington community – and the administrative costs are picked up by the Canadian Tire corporation.

During the annual drive for Christmas gifts – The Toys for Tots – frequently referred to as “Cram a cruiser” we had people coming into the store buying a dozen hockey sticks and putting them in the police cruiser and walking back to their car – they didn’t stop to talk – they just gave. A number of people walk to that police cruiser with their arms filled with stuffed toys.”

“This is a very generous community”.

All the results for the 2016 Jumpstart haven’t been tallied yet – the traffic looked pretty good on Saturday and those correctional officers said they were doing a brisk business.

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