Toronto Marlies fans are expected to throw one for the team at Teddy Bear Toss

TORONTO, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Nazim Kadri and the Toronto Marlies are bracing themselves for a barrage this Sunday at Ricoh Coliseum.  But it's not just the visiting Abbotsford Heat that have them bracing for an attack. The home team is anticipating a cascade of stuffed bears launched to the ice by fans immediately following their first goal.

The Children's Aid Foundation and RONA are inviting Toronto Marlies fans to take part in a special Teddy Bear Toss on December 9th at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto by purchasing JJ Bears at RONA stores across the GTA or at the arena on game day.  All JJ Bears collected from the ice and their sales proceeds will benefit deserving children in the care of Toronto Children's Aid Societies just in time for the holidays.

"The Toss is really about fans in our great community sending a message that all kids deserve joyful experiences and happy childhood memories, especially those in care," said Joe Canavan, Chair of the Children's Aid Foundation Board. "Our donors also understand this which is why CIBC has graciously sponsored 215 kids in care and their guardians to attend this weekend's game," he added.

Canavan also sees the power of impassioned fans. "Last week the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome was littered with more than 21,000 stuffed toys by Calgary Hitmen fans. I believe we can create that type of impact here in Toronto as well."

The message of helping young people has not been lost to the RONA Foundation. For over 10 years the organization has supported initiatives that help young people achieve their potential and take their rightful place in the workforce and community.

"RONA feels very strongly about providing underprivileged youth with opportunities that will allow them to enhance their lives," said Paul Sharpe, Vice President - Retail, RONA, Ontario. "Providing access to education is one of these opportunities that we feel is most important. In partnering with the Children's Aid Foundation for the JJ Bear Campaign, we are able to offer scholarships to youth who may otherwise not have the means necessary to attend post secondary education.  We, along with so many others, are helping these children realize their full potential, and that is perhaps the best gift we can give them."

Prior to and beyond the game at Ricoh Coliseum, which starts this Sunday at 3:00 pm, JJ Bear stuffed toys will be available at RONA stores across Ontario until December 30, 2012. Established through the Children's Aid Foundation, the 5th annual JJ Bear Campaign provides funding by means of a RONA scholarship fund to Ontario youth in the care of Children's Aid Societies so they are able to attend post-secondary education.

About RONA
RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, home renovation and gardening products. The Corporation operates a network of more than 800 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats under several banners, and a network of 18 hardware and construction-materials distribution centres which are flexible and perfectly adapted to the diverse needs of its clientele. RONA is also a leader in the specialized plumbing and HVAC market, primarily serving commercial and professional customers with a network of close to 60 sales outlets across the country.

In total, RONA supplies nearly 1,500 sales outlets, of which more than 830 are under one of its banners, as well as close to 600 clients, independent dealers, in its distribution network. With more than 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada, the RONA store network generates consolidated sales of $4.8 billion and over $6 billion taking into account the total impact of the retail sales of franchise dealers, affiliates and other independent dealers who buy their supplies at RONA. For more information, visit rona.ca

About the Children's Aid Foundation
An astonishing number of children in Canada are at risk and need our help. Many suffer in poverty, while others have been victims of abuse and neglect. A staggering 76,000 of them live in foster homes or a residential facility. The mission of the Children's Aid Foundation is to fund programs that give them skills and hope for a promising future.

SOURCE: Children's Aid Foundation

For further information:

Igor Bubic
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Children's Aid Foundation
ibubic@cafdn.org
416-923-0924 ext 230

Krysta McCallum
Regional Communications Specialist
RONA- Ontario
krysta.mccallum@rona.ca
416.241.5129 ext. 215