Alumnus turns up the volume for local food bank
SAIT graduate Britt Jones learned all about connecting with audiences while studying in the Radio, Television and Broadcast News program — but that connection found new meaning after launching 104.9 Virgin Radio’s Feed Your Friends , a wildly successful fundraiser in support of the Edmonton Food Bank.
With listeners all across the province in self-isolation, the Virgin Morning Show host felt an especially strong connection to his radio audience.
“We’ve received a lot more text messages from people telling us they are tuning in from the moment they wake up,” Jones says. The listener engagement soon led to even bigger aspirations.
“We are working in an industry that will likely not be hit super hard by COVID-19. So the focus became, how can we give back to people who really have been impacted?”
After discussing the idea with his co-hosts, 104.9 Virgin Radio’s Feed Your Friends was launched in partnership with the Edmonton Food Bank to help those impacted during the pandemic.
“The idea for the 104.9 Virgin Radio’s Feed Your Friends campaign came from a tweet that I had seen,” Jones says. “It was a reminder to really watch your local food banks because they will be hit really hard during this time.”
The campaign, which set an initial fundraising target of $10,000, made national news after receiving a $4,000 donation from actor Ryan Reynolds. A flurry of giving followed, arriving from individuals, families, corporations and other celebrities in amounts ranging from $10 – $10,000.
“It was really great to be able to refresh the fundraiser page and see the donations increase,” says Jones.
Among those donors were Edmonton-born actor Nathan Fillion, Edmonton Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse and local companies.
When the fundraiser closed, the grand total had reached $45,255 – more than four-times their initial target.
As Jones and the rest of the Virgin Morning Show figure out what’s next, they will continue to provide support to the community over radio waves. You can tune in through the iHeart Radio app or Virgin Radio’s website.
Find out more about SAIT’s everyday heroes — the front-line alumni, instructors, employees and students using their skills to make a difference. Visit sait.ca/bettertogether.