In 2010, Agape Table began to undertake a major philosophical shift, exactly 30 years after it first opened it doors. In essence, the organization would continue to provide emergency meals and services to the hungry, but it wanted to reposition itself from a soup kitchen to a community nutrition center – a place where its guests could move away from emergency need, and toward self-sustainability through choice and empowerment.
Agape Table introduced a series of innovative programs and services to its members — a precedent-setting shift for a Winnipeg soup kitchen. The agency’s communications department knew local news media would be interested in learning about the transition, but it would need to be packaged in such a way to make it accessible for deadline-pressed newsrooms.
We proposed a media open house in the food service space, where reporters could see some of the programs in action and talk to guests, staff, board members and volunteers, including one long-term volunteer who’d himself been served soup as an Agape Table guest the very day it opened, 30 years prior.
We packaged the event around Agape Table’s 30th anniversary, collaborated with the client on event logistics, and gave their team a workshop on Twitter and Facebook to help get them started in social media. We created press kits and speaking notes for the event, and developed a small social media fundraiser idea. During the event, Agape Table kicked off a 24-hour ‘tweet-a-thon’ to build awareness of the client’s new Twitter account, and to generate some donations.
Valuable coverage of the event and anniversary appeared on TV and radio, in print, and on the ChrisD.ca news blog. Most stories also offered up the @AgapeTable handle and the special hashtag so the public could recognize the 30th anniversary and help spread word of the tweet-a-thon. The response from the Twitter community was resounding; many people retweeted the call to action within the 24-hour period, which increased followers and brought in donations.
Update: A year later, we were able to bring in the newly-launched CTV Morning Live Winnipeg show to spend the morning at Agape Table to explore its programs and people in even more depth.