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This article was published 5/11/2018 (802 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
One St. James company has been mixing business with charity for nearly two decades.
Accessit Corp. is located at 981 Century St. and raises funds for breast cancer research facilities across North America and the Missing Children Society of Canada.
"The merchants where the machines are placed really do appreciate the fact that they’re helping and contributing to the funds that are being raised for the charities," Accessit’s chief executive officer Tom Semeniuk said.
Semeniuk has been in the vending industry for 35 years and in 2000 he and his partner Paul Shepperson decided to expand their reach into charitable giving.
To date, they have raised more than $358,000 for the Missing Children Society and have shone a light on the cause — each vending machine includes a name, photo and description of a missing child.
"It’s getting the names out, the face out and providing a lot of exposure in very high traffic areas," Semeniuk said.
"Over 47,000 children were reported missing in Canada during 2017 and the partnership with Accessit Corp.’s charity vending machine program is crucial to raising awareness and funds for (the) national charity," Craig Peterson, director of business development for the Missing Children Society said in a statement.
Money is raised through agreements with vending machine owners who donate a few dollars to the cause each month for each machine they own.
Semeniuk and Shepperson have recently expanded their offerings with a Vending for Hope program, which dispenses breast cancer support swag like buttons and bracelets emblazoned with the pink ribbon.
"Breast cancer research, unfortunately, affects a lot of people and it’s just a way of pitching in," Semeniuk said.
The new program has raised more than $51,000 for breast cancer research facilities in Canada, with donations staying in the provinces where the machines are located. Semeniuk estimates the company has 4,000 machines installed across the country with goals of expanding into markets in the United States.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.