M&Ms firing up support for a cause

Crohn's and Colitis Foundation benefits from annual M&M Meat Shop Charity BBQ Day May 12 in Vernon and across Canada

At just 12-years-old, Landon Lafond understands all too well what it’s like to live with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).

“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease three years ago,” said Lafond, who is representing the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) for an annual fundraiser put on by M&M Meat Shops.

“M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day is an important way to raise money and awareness for crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and hopefully, help kids like me feel better.”

Vernon’s local M&M shop joins the more than 450 stores across Canada May 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the 24th annual event.

Franchisees, staff and thousands of volunteers from coast-to-coast will be manning their grills to meet the Charity BBQ Day fundraising goal of $1.5 million.

Supporters will receive a hamburger or hot dog, a drink and a bag of chips for a minimum donation of $3. All food and time is donated, so every penny raised goes directly to CCFC Crohn’s and colitis research.

For an additional $2, supporters can cool down by purchasing an M&M Meat Shops strawberry shortcake bar, with proceeds donated to CCFC.

Customers can also support IBD research by purchasing and signing a $2 star between now and May 13. They will also have a chance to win a $500 M&M Meat Shops gift card. Stars can be purchased in-store or online at ccfc.ca/star

For $3, supporters will receive a star, an M&M Meat Shops blossom pastry and double their chance to win the $500 gift card.

Or for $5, supporters will receive a star, a coupon book worth more than $50 in M&M Meat Shops savings and triple their chance to win the gift card.

Canada has among the highest incidence of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – two similar yet distinct conditions also known as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) – in the world. Despite this high incidence, IBD is still veiled in silence and shame. There are more than 200,000 Canadians suffering from IBD. It is a painful and unpredictable disorder. There is no known cause or cure and the number of cases continues to grow.

“We are extremely grateful to those who support M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day,” said CCFC CEO Kevin Glasgow. “Our 23-year-partnership with M&M Meat Shops has made an enormous difference in our effort to find a cure for IBD. The generous donations, combined with the hard work of thousands of volunteers, raise a significant portion of our annual research funds in just one day.”

From humble beginnings, M&M Meat Shops Charity BBQ Day has grown into CCFC’s largest annual fundraising activity by any single supporter. Over the past 23 years, M&M Meat Shops has raised more than $21.5 million for medical research dedicated to finding a cure for IBD.

“What began in 1989 with just a handful of stores has evolved into a national event at more than 450 M&M Meat Shops locations across Canada,” said Mac Voisin, M&M co-founder.  “Our goal is to help find a cure so that our event can become an annual celebration of the cure for IBD.”

The money raised through events such as Charity BBQ Day has allowed CCFC to fund more than $71 million in medical research projects. Charity BBQ Day began in 1989, when Voisin learned that Canadians suffer from IBD at an unusually high rate. He quickly realized that he had the unique opportunity to help raise awareness and funds for a little known, and even less spoken-about condition and Canadian charity.