By Jordan Yager
VANCOUVER – The holiday season is about spending quality time with those closest to us – gathering for family dinners, drinking hot chocolate, and expressing our gratitude for what we have. It’s a time for reflection and generosity. But when you’re a kid, it doesn’t hurt to also receive a gift or two to show off to your friends come the new school year.
For some families, providing gifts for their children doesn’t come easy, and it can fall to the wayside in favour of more necessary expenditures. Enter Goodwill Lager, a beer brewed and designed in collaboration between Red Truck Beer Company and Donnelly Group. They’ve brewed 10,000 cans, and one dollar from each can purchased at any Donnelly location will go towards a toy drive held on December 3.
“It started as a bunch of managers just grabbing toys and donating them to kids,” says Donnelly Group Director of Marketing Damon Holowchak. “Now, it’s evolved to include each member of our staff, which is over 1,000 people. We give them $50 Toys ‘R’ Us gift cards and they purchase an unwrapped toy that becomes their entrance to our Christmas party. The Salvation Army comes and picks them up, they fill wish lists the best they can, and those toys are distributed to children that might not normally have toys at all. We’re over a million bucks in toys given away.”
Though the toy drive has been held for 18 years now, Donnelly Group has never quite figured out a way to engage the public in their initiative. That all changes this year with the introduction of Goodwill Lager. At each of their venues on both the east and west coasts, tall cans of the beer will be added to menus from November 1 until December 3.
“We didn’t ever include the public as well as we could in what we thought was a really good initiative, because it was mostly an internal party for staff,” says Holowchak. “We always wanted to get our guests involved, and this year we found a way that we can all talk about the toy drive and allow them to get involved in a pretty simple way. We’re encouraging all of our customers to come in and drink a beer – which they’re probably going to do anyway with us – but this way, you can give some money for toys for kids. Hopefully, with a buck each, at least $10,000 will be donated in addition [to the $50 per staff member] for more toys.”
You can find Goodwill Lager at any Donnelly Group venue from November 1 to December 3.