Fundraising medal recognizing COVID-19 ‘heroes’ issued by RCM

Net proceeds go to Breakfast Club of Canada COVID-19 emergency fund

A wearable recognition medal honouring Canada’s essential and frontline workers has been struck by the Royal Canadian Mint to raise money for the Breakfast Club of Canada’s COVID-19 emergency fund.

Available as of June 29, the nickel-plated steel medals are “a true team effort led by countless Mint employees who donated their time, skills and expertise,” according to Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay. The Mint will donate all net proceeds from the sale of each medal to the emergency fund supporting children and families facing food insecurity due to COVID-19.

“This project is a meaningful way for the Mint to contribute to a cause that is helping Canadians from coast to coast to coast and to say a sincere, tangible thank you to the people who keep making a difference for all of us during this pandemic,” added Lemay.

Launched in 1994 with a breakfast program at Lionel-Groulx School in Longueuil, Qué., the Breakfast Club of Canada now feeds nearly 245,000 children and youth in more than 1,800 schools across the country.

This March, the organization established an emergency fund to assist 250,000 children who no longer have access to the meal program due to COVID-19 and its ensuing school closures. So far, the fund has already raised more than $8 million for 900 schools and community organizations across Canada.

“Throughout this crisis, we have been very moved by all the shows of community spirit and hard work that have been vital in protecting some of the country’s most vulnerable families,” said Daniel Germain, president and founder of the Breakfast Club of Canada. “At Breakfast Club of Canada, we have been responsive to the needs of hundreds of thousands of children for the past 25 years, and we are proud to have upheld this tradition during these challenging times. But our work is far from done.”

Mint President and CEO Marie Lemay called the medals ‘a true team effort led by countless Mint employees who donated their time, skills and expertise.’

A TEAM EFFORT

The 2020-dated medal “started with a spark of an idea to leverage the Mint’s unique coin-making skills to craft an artful and meaningful medal,” according to a statement issued by the Crown corporation.

Mint employees in both Ottawa and Winnipeg lent a helping hand to the project.

“This is one of the most rewarding things I’ve worked on,” said Jean-Paul Collette, a die production operator in Winnipeg. “It connects directly with people that we know and I feel proud being able to say, ‘We made this for you.’ It’s a special feeling to be able to have done that.”

Those comments were echoed by Alex Tirabasso, a Mint engraver working in Ottawa, who said the “best part of this experience was seeing how our teams and colleagues rallied together for a cause that was bigger than ourselves.”

“That is, in showing, in our own way, our respect and recognition to our health care frontline workers. The sweet sugar coating to this experience will be to hopefully see the smiles of our health care workers when they receive these medallions.”

For one employee – Yannick Cormier, a research and design project engineer in Ottawa – there was a personal connection to the pandemic-themed medal.

“My mom is a nurse who is working in an establishment that had declared COVID-19 cases, and for me, it was an honour to be able to add my contribution on the recognition medal,” said Cormier.

Susan Aubry, marketing services manager with the Mint in Ottawa, was also a member of the medal design team.

“Not since the Olympics 10 years ago have I felt like I am a part of something quite so important. This is an historic moment and I’m proud to have had the opportunity to contribute. I spent a lot of time thinking about the design and it was truly an emotional experience.”

In addition to using spare materials for production, some Mint employees volunteered to package the medal to maximize the Crown corporation’s fundraising for the Breakfast Club of Canada.

“It is an incredible and meaningful gesture that also teaches our kids the importance of caring for your community and lending a hand when needed,” said Thalia Bouris, production operations training co-ordinator, who was one of hundreds of employee volunteers who packaged recognition medals with their families.

“It shows that even small gestures such as volunteering your time can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

One side of the medal (die shown) features a heart, which represents Canada’s grateful spirit, according to the Mint.

MEDAL DESIGN

One side of the medal features a heart and maple leaf icon, representing the collective spirit of Canadians.

Together, the maple leaf and heart symbolize Canadians “coming together in embrace as we help those in need,” according to a statement issued by the Mint. A complex array of micro-mirrors covering the heart creates a pulsating light effect, evoking Canada’s “strong heartbeat.” The word “CANADA” is also engraved near the top rim.

The medal’s other side represents Canada’s grateful spirit. The heart in the centre of the group symbolizes Canadians coming together in appreciation of the country’s essential workers. Micro-text represents the nation’s thankful voices, with “THANK YOU / MERCI” shown throughout the leaf. The year-date “2020” and “THANK YOU • MERCI” are also engraved below the leaf.

Each medal, which has a weight of 6.04 grams and a diameter of 21.95 millimetres, also includes a magnet so it can be worn on either side by its recipient.

The medal can be ordered directly from the Mint at 1-800-267-1871 in Canada (or 1-800-268-6468 in the United States) or via the Mint’s website, mint.ca. It is also available at participating Canada Post locations or through TD Canada Trust and CIBC.

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