Charity campaign spreads coffee and cheer for Eglinton subway riders

Maxwell House rep Katherine Scott gives free coffee to passer-by Mario Papadopoulos as part of the Brew Some Good Day campaign.
Maxwell House rep Katherine Scott gives free coffee to passer-by Mario Papadopoulos as part of the Brew Some Good Day campaign. (Melissa DeSousa)

Paying it forward. That was the motivation behind the first-ever Brew Some Good campaign sponsored by Maxwell House on March 26 at the busy Eglinton subway station.

Maxwell House announced their partnership with Habitat for Humanity and kicked it off with a $100,000 contribution to the organization. The event began at 6 a.m. and ended at 9 a.m.

Singer Chantal Kreviazuk busked for the cause, while Maxwell House gave away free coffee on the corner of Yonge St. and Eglinton Ave. Inside Eglinton subway station, Maxwell House reps handed out free tokens to the first 10,000 subway riders along with Maxwell house coupons.

Riders and passers-by reacted with shock at the initiative, as though it was too good to be true. It seems Torontonians are not used to random acts of kindness.

Helen Divito did not take any of the free stuff, but she thought the event was a great idea. “Anything for the good,” she said. “I have my own coffee and I brought my own token, so I am happy to let someone else have it,”

Aside from the monetary contribution, Maxwell House’s partnership with Habitat for Humanity will include helping the organization with public awareness as well as marketing. President and CEO of Habitat for Humanity, David Hughes expressed his eagerness to begin the partnership.

“We are thrilled that Maxwell House is supporting our work in building homes and hope for Canadian families,” he said. “This campaign is a fantastic demonstration of how people from all walks of life can join us and have a positive impact on the lives of others.”

The $100,000 contribution towards Habitat for Humanity will help them provide more people with a place to live next year.

“That (donation) will be for general support of our affiliates across the country,” Hughes said. “It is in support of our overall program, which next year we hope will house close to 250 families.”

Vice President, Beverages, Kraft Canada (makers of Maxwell House coffee) Bill VandenBygaart is also looking forward to the new partnership.

“We are kicking it off with some small things and then some bigger things like the partnership, which is the biggest reason we are hear today,” he said. “We are hoping that even though it is a subway token, they’ll use that as a catalyst to do a little good themselves.”

While VandenBygaart realizes that some people will view the event as a marketing ploy, he hopes that most people will see it for what it really is.

“It’s genuine and purposeful. We are putting our money where our mouth is,” he said. “We want to be acting as a catalyst for those acts of kindness and good. That is a huge objective for us.”

VandenBygaart could not have been happier with the turnout.

“There has been a fantastic reaction,” VandenBygaart said. “I think we could make it an annual day, it’s a great day, we are brewing some good!”