As the world’s largest confectionery company, Halloween is one of Mars’ favorite times of the year to celebrate and give back to our local communities. This year, Mars was involved with many Halloween activities that engaged Associates and members of the local communities in which we operate through the Mars Volunteer Program (MVP).
Boo-ing it Forward: Mars Hosts Annual Boo Bash Nationwide
Recognizing the hard work and dedication of our Associates, Mars hosted its annual “Boo Bash” events at its sites across the United States to celebrate Halloween. This year, Mars Chocolate North America celebrated the brand’s 75th anniversary and Newark, New Jersey’s 350th anniversary by partnering with the City of Newark to transform a local neighborhood into a family-friendly Halloween experience. The M&M’S® brand turned the JFK Recreation Center and two nearby streets into a haunted promenade, complete with a haunted house, music, activities and free costumes and candy for children. Hometown hero and New Jersey Nets star, Randy Foye, and New Jersey Devils star, Taylor Hall, were spotted at the event taking pictures and meeting with fans.
In Chicago, Wrigley opened up their doors to children involved with the Off the Street Club organization for a special trick-or-treating event at the after-hours “Halloween Hoot” for local families, which offered treats, games and an extended haunted house in a safe and welcoming environment. Associates from Chicago’s Goose Island campus spent an afternoon with kids at Casa Central decorating Halloween masks. Wrigley Associates also hosted a Halloween photo contest, where candy was collected and donated to Operation Gratitude, which sends care packages to veterans, members of the military and first responders.
A "petculiar" event took place at Mars Petcare’s “Boo Bash” in Tennessee where Mars Petcare Associates, family and friends celebrated Halloween with costume contests and other Halloween activities. This year, Mars Petcare turned the spooky holiday into a giving one by inviting Associates to “Boo It Forward” to family, friends or Operation Gratitude by donating items of need. The organization is also honoring military families and first responder pets through Operation Gratitude with a $750,000 in-kind donation of product and thousands of military care packages.
At the Mars Food North America headquarters in Rancho Dominguez, CA, Associates volunteered to build bikes together and donate them as a special Halloween treat to a nearby Boys & Girls club. In addition, Associates at the Mars Symbioscience facility in Germantown, MD hosted their first “Boo Bash” collecting excess candy from Halloween to add to Operation Gratitude donations and hosted a letter writing station where Associates wrote thank you letters to men and women of service deployed overseas.
Lastly, a variety of Mars segments and sites hosted Halloween-related “fun runs,” where Associates, their friends and families, and local communities can get active and give back while being in the Halloween spirit. For example, Mars Chocolate North America hosted a 5K run in Hackettstown, NJ, where the entrance fee was extra Halloween candy to be donated to Operation Gratitude.
Mars Food Associates:
Volunteering in our Home Towns
Associates across Mars Food North America participated in the Mars Volunteer Program month (October) with several activities in our local communities. Near our Rancho Dominguez, CA headquarters, Associates cooked UNCLE BEN’S® rice recipes for families at a Ronald McDonald House and also volunteered at the Compton Community Organic Garden, one of the SEEDS OF CHANGE® brand’s 2016 Grant Program recipients.
In Greenville, MS nearly two dozen Associates spent time at two local food shelters as part of the Mississippi State Day of Giving, helping to rebuild, revamp and assist in providing thousands of healthy meals to those in need.
Near our Bolton, Ontario, Canada site, Associates spent MVP Week partnering with Albion Hills Farm, where they helped harvest and do fieldwork, Caledon Community Services where they helped families cook and learn about nutrition and Meals on Wheels delivering healthy meal options to those in need.
Mars Petcare & Banfield® Pet Hospital Shows its Love for Louisiana
As the nation’s largest veterinary practice, Banfield Pet Hospital focuses on making a better world for pets in its nearly 950 hospitals across the country. That care and compassion extends beyond the hospital walls and into the community in the aftermath of natural disasters, as was the case during the recent flooding in Louisiana. In August, almost seven trillion gallons of water fell on southern Louisiana in less than a week, causing extreme flooding. With 12 hospitals in the state, Banfield's presence meant there was a direct impact from the disaster, but with no reciprocity offered to allow veterinarians in neighboring states to assist, Banfield also was well positioned to provide support to those who were most in need.
In the month that followed, Louisiana-licensed Banfield veterinarians and technicians partnered with local shelters and community organizations to provide critical veterinary care to impacted and displaced pets. Through 600 volunteer hours, more than 3,000 pets were cared for and through a partnership with American Humane, Banfield provided nearly $20,000 in complimentary surgeries for an additional 35 pets at Banfield locations before being transported out of state for adoption. Banfield CEO Vincent Bradley traveled to Louisiana and volunteered alongside our Associates in the community at an impacted shelter.
Mars Petcare also donated more than 20 tons of PEDIGREE® dog food, with additional loads from NUTRO® and ROYAL CANIN® delivered to distribution warehouses and shelters to ensure evacuated and displaced pets had access to food.
"As a Banfield Associate and resident of Louisiana, having the opportunity to give back to this community in its greatest hour of need has been incredibly meaningful," said Adrianne LaChute, Banfield Field Director. "We hope that providing veterinary care to pets who have been impacted brings comfort to the owners during such a difficult time."
For Colleen Mangum, Banfield practice manager, one moment in particular stood out. A cat was panting in her kennel at the expo center, and as Banfield volunteers examined her, they ended up delivering kittens! When two orphaned kittens were brought in, eyes still closed, this cat welcomed them into her family. Teamwork being demonstrated by Banfield Associates AND the pets.
"It's extremely rewarding to be able to go and do this, and help both the people and their pets" said Colleen. "It's very emotional. You feel a connection with these people — you feel what they're going through and what they've lost. I've really enjoyed this opportunity to volunteer and am extremely grateful to Banfield to be able to do this."
Added Adrianne: "I'm so proud of our Associates for their efforts in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, and I know Banfield will be committed to serving this area on its long road to recovery."