Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Give A Toast!

Today is officially Giving Tuesday, and I don't usually partake in goofy promotions unless there's a significantly good cause attached to it. Asking me to toss my hard-earned money away on something frivolous is like asking me to cut off my right arm with a butter knife. It's never going to happen, and, quite frankly, it's a dumb request. However, when goofy promotional items are tied into a good cause, I tend to lean towards helping said cause by purchasing the promotional item. Canadian Tire and its Jumpstart program are doing some good work in helping kids who face barriers get into and stay into sports, and that's something I can say I fully support.

From the Jumpstart website, the mission of Jumpstart is simple: give all kids a chance to play.
Jumpstart is more than just about getting kids active. It's about giving kids from families in financial need the same chance to participate as their neighbours, their classmates and their friends. Whether it's the chance to try a new sport or to continue with a favourite one, no kid should be left out.

The vision of Jumpstart is simple: Canada, where all kids have a chance to fulfill their dreams.

Jumpstart is a national charity with a commitment to local communities. Organized sports connect kids to their communities. Canadian Tire Corporation recognized this and makes sure that money raised stays where it is donated. Canadian Tire Corporation is Jumpstart's biggest supporter as it funds all the general administrative expenses of Jumpstart, which means 100% of customer donations go directly to help kids in need.

Community Partners, like the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Boys and Girls Club, Maison de la Famille, URLS, Centre Jeunesse and numerous others work with local Jumpstart Chapters to identify the kids whose families need Jumpstart’s funding assistance to get them off the sidelines and into the game. What kids do is up to them; we’re here to help them do it.

Jumpstart: Giving Kids a Sporting Chance.
HBIC doesn't have the budget of the Canadian Tire Corporation. Heck, it doesn't have a budget for pens or paper. What it does have, though, is a writer who believes that all kids, regardless of any barrier that may potentially stop them from playing, should play. Supporting Jumpstart is a no-brainer for me, and I'm happy that my money is going to cause that I truly believe in.

In order to raise some additional funds with hockey season rolling around, Canadian Tire and Jumpstart called on three ambassadors to lend their names and faces to the campaign. Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid, and Jonathan Toews all jumped aboard the campaign, and Canadian Tire came up with the "Give A Toast" campaign. The three NHL stars above had their faces replicated out of metal and placed inside the toaster so that whatever item one wants to toast will end up with Greztky's, McDavid's, or Toews' face on the golden brown food. The cost for one of these toasters? Just $25. So I splurged on the greatest toaster in NHL history, the Wayne Gretzky toaster!

Upon opening the cardboard box that the Gretzky toaster was sent in, I was greeted with... another box? The red top of the box was nestled just blow the flaps of the shipping box, so it appears that Canadian Tire did their homework when it came to shipping these toasters in properly-sized containers. Both boxes feel sturdy and they were shipped via Purolator with no visible damage on either box, so I did what any kid would on Christmas morning: I removed the toaster from its cardboard encasement.

Not a bad looking toaster, if I do say so myself! Well, the box looks alright. There's an English and French side on all four sides. The smaller side talks about the #GiveAToast campaign, and reads, "Wow. What an incredible decision you've made. Not only have you purchased a toaster that makes every piece of bread a legend, but all proceeds from the purchase of this toaster go to Jumpstart, helping Canadian kids get off the sidelines and into the game. So from both the kids, and the bread, we say thank you." All the proceeds? I feel pretty good about my purchase now.

Upon opening the box, you get your standard warranty information and a user's manual. The warranty info was interesting in that it explicitly says, "This product cannot be returned to Canadian Tire stores." It makes you wonder if Canadian Tire sells this brand of toaster. Speaking of which, it appears to be a Pangea Brand toaster. Pangea Brands produces a number of licensed toasters including a Darth Vader toaster, a Domo toaster (which oddly looks similar to the Gretzky toaster model), NHL team toasters, and MLB team toasters. These specialized toaster images seem to be their thing when it comes to toasters. Reviews vary wildly depending on which site you check for the Pangea Brands toasters, but all I really care about is whether Wayne Gretzky looks like Wayne Gretzky on my toast.

The toaster, upon removing it from its branded box, is smaller than what I expected. As you can see on the ruler, it's only about eight inches in width, so this thing won't be able to toast foot-long hot dog buns or anything. The slots for toasting aren't very wide either, so thicker toast such as Texas-style toast will be a tight fit into the toaster. Overall, though, the aesthetic is pleasing. It has a very retro feel to it, the image of Gretzky on the side is a clear black-and-white photo of The Great One, and the cord is of decent length to be used in any kitchen. I'd say that for $25 I got what I paid for.

So how does it toast? That's the big question, right? Well, we're going to save that suspense for another few weeks. On December 21, 2017, I'll be bringing the toaster to the radio studio for The Hockey Show that night where we'll toast as many things as we can while posting the results to social media. White bread, brown bread, Pop Tarts, toaster strudels, waffles, hashbrowns... basically anything that can be toasted by a standard upright toaster will be tested to see how Wayne Gretzky's face appears on them! You'll have to keep your eyes peeled on social media that night as we toast The Great One in style!

If you have the means today, folks, please give to a charity. Giving Tuesday is all about helping someone or people who are less fortunate that you. If you're in Canada and you want to see how the money that has been donated to Jumpstart has been spent, you can look up the information with this handy tool. The fact that they give demographics on how much has been spent on boys and girls is a good indicator that no child will be left on the sidelines. Isn't that what giving is all about?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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