RJ Gorman is teaming up with his retailers, including Vince's Market, to donate money from the sale of his iconic popcorn bags to the Red Cross in support of Ukraine. They've dubbed the campaign Popcorn for Peace.
“We've got to do something, it’s wrong," said Gorman, whose RJ's Popcorn — big bags of the movie-style treat — is well known since he operated the Gem Theatre in Keswick.
"He came to see me last week and said, ‘Do you want to do something with popcorn and we can send some money to the Red Cross?'” said Giancarlo Trimarchi, president of Vince's. "We’re going to sell popcorn — which we always do anyway — and RJ and I will put in $5 a bag."
They have decided to support the Red Cross fund because the government will be matching donations until March 18.
“The important thing is the government will only match up to next Friday,” Gorman said, adding that people should purchase their popcorn before that day. However, they will continue the campaign until the last day of March.
“It’s a win-win situation. People get to enjoy their popcorn that they love and we’ll contribute some money for something that’s very well needed right now,” Trimarchi said. The popcorn is available at every Vince's location, including in Newmarket on Mulock Drive and at Upper Canada Mall.
He said it was an easy decision for both him and Gorman to step up and show their support.
"We just don’t believe that what’s happening in the Ukraine is OK or just, and particularly feel for the people that ... have to live through this. They’re going to need all the support that they can get from the international community for those that stay and those that are seeking refugee status,” he said, adding that his own family are immigrants from Italy, who moved to Canada after the Second World War.
For Gorman, he has always been focused on giving back. He said in the past he has raised funds for other causes, including during SARS when he collected donations for the Red Cross.
“On the same premise, we want to raise as much as we can. So Giancarlo and I are splitting the $5 and the government matches the $5," he said.
After getting the ball rolling with Vince's he said he also approached his other retailers, including Newmarket Home Hardware, who will be participating in the Popcorn for Peace campaign as well.
“I don’t care if you like popcorn or not, go buy a bag and pay it forward," Gorman said.