September 27, 2020

BY ASHLEY CURRIE

The crowds were huge as people gathered on Oct. 20 to participate in the second annual Cineplex National Community Day in support of the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

The event included free movies and specially discounted concession items, such as regular-sized drinks and popcorn, and select varieties of candy for $2 each. All of the proceeds from these items went to the Starlight foundation, a national, non-profit organization that strives to improve the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. They provide entertainment, education and other family activities to help these children cope with the pain, fear and isolation of an illness.

Over 125 Cineplex theatres in cities across Canada hosted their own community day to help raise money for Starlight.

Movies being offered varied by location but included How to Train Your Dragon, Transformers – Dark of the Moon, Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Hugo. 

There was also other entertainment for the kids. For a $2 donation children at the Galaxy Cinemas’ Guelph location could get their face painted or have a balloon animal made for them by a clown. There was also a table where guests could make a donation and write their name on a star to be posted on the wall.

Sharon Roberts of Guelph is a mom of four small children. “This is great for the kids,” she said. “It’s hard to take four kids out but since the movies are free it’s awesome. I don’t mind paying for the balloons and stuff when I know all the money is going to charity.”

Cineplex theatres also exclusively sell the Starlight Pin for $2 each; 100 per cent of proceeds from these go to the Starlight foundation. Pins are typically sold in September and October.

Mariana Schenkel is a Galaxy Cinemas Guelph employee and a first-year early childhood education student at Conestoga College. She said, “Community day helped extremely with our pin sales. Each day we try to sell pins to help the Starlight foundation. Hopefully next year we do just as well.” The Guelph theatre had already sold over 1,000 prior to community day.

As of Spoke’s deadline, national numbers had not yet been tabulated, but Galaxy Cinemas Guelph alone had an attendance of over 1,200 guests. If each of these guests made at least one $2 donation that would be over $2,400 raised, and according to staff at the event many guests made multiple donations.

“Community day was an awesome success,” said Schenkel. “It was nice coming into my shift and seeing all those children laughing and running around with balloon animals.”