Franchising in Your CommunityJuly/August 2021

Giving Back: Feeding Canadian Communities

M&M Food Market takes pride in the support and donations it provides to families and organizations across Canada

By Stefanie Ucci

For more than 40 years, M&M Food Market has helped Canadians put delicious and nutritious meals on their families’ tables every day. From appetizers and prepared meals to desserts and side dishes, M&M Food Market has positioned itself as a valuable, convenient, and iconic Canadian brand.

Founded in 1980 in Kitchener, Ontario, M&M Food Market today has hundreds of franchise locations from coast to coast. Beyond providing meals to growing families, the brand also gives back to local communities in a variety of ways.

Pegi Klein-Webber, vice president of people, training & corporate communications, says these initiatives include franchise partners who are, “volunteering their time, sponsoring events and sports teams, donating gift cards, providing food donations, giving cash donations, and even hosting barbecue events. Really, it comes down to providing support in our communities where our help is needed the most.”

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the brand’s support for local communities facilitated the development of corporate programs, including one directed to help frontline workers. Klein-Webber says it donated face masks to hospitals in need located in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver, and donated $50,000 in M&M Food Market gift cards to medical workers across Canada.

Additionally, M&M Food Market partnered with HelpAge Canada to provide support for seniors by donating $25,000 in gift cards, and also donated more than $30,000 worth of food to senior support organizations across the country.

Through its recent support for BGC Canada (formerly known as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Canada), M&M Food Market donated $125,000 in gift cards that were distributed to clubs across the country to help feed families in need, which paved the way for the two organizations to establish a formal partnership. “By partnering with and supporting BGC Canada, our M&M Food Market team will play an important role in providing opportunity for children and youth that will support them in breaking down personal barriers and providing skills for life-long success,” says Klein-Webber.

“In times of need, our store teams across the country rallied to support their local communities. There are countless stories of our franchise partners from coast to coast providing product and gift card donations to local medical professionals/facilities, food banks, and other charitable organizations.”

For example, Paul Slavik and Rhonda Shier, who own a store in Windsor, Ontario, donated more than 500 meals to health care facilities and long-term care homes.

Franchise partners Kristen Baker and Cheryl Martin from St. Thomas, Ontario, “donated hundreds of single-serve items to long-term care and health care workers, along with 1,000 bottles of sauce and six cases of potatoes and fries to their local food bank, and over $400 worth of toys and gift cards to their local Christmas Care program,” explains Klein-Webber.

In St. John’s, Newfoundland, store manager Linda Quinlan donated food to the local Ronald McDonald House to provide meals to families living there. 

Klein-Webber emphasizes that giving back to local communities has always been an important part of the brand’s values. “M&M Food Market franchise partners are active members of the communities where they run their business and have a reputation for building a strong presence in their neighbourhoods.”

She adds, “For us, raising awareness is less about promoting our charitable efforts, but is more about informing community members that M&M Food Market is there to help where we can and to let them know they can rely on us in times of need.”

Throughout the brand’s history, M&M Food Market franchisees have taken it upon themselves to support and get involved in corporate charitable efforts. Causes that franchise partners support include homeless shelters, food banks, school groups, sports teams, nursing homes, churches, local hospitals, and health organizations.

“The response from our head office team and our customers to the efforts of our franchise partners resulted in a feeling of pride and is a big part of what draws people to the M&M Food Market brand,” says Klein-Webber.