"We have no doubt that these organisations will continue their remarkable work in their communities and pay it forward, addressing critical social issues related to nutrition, education and gender equality," says Maxine D'Amico, promotions and advertising manager at SPAR Inland.

"These are each a core focus of The SPAR Group's ongoing upliftment efforts," adds D'Amico.

The organisations that benefited from the cause included:
  • The Smile Foundation
  • Susters For Life
  • READ Educational Trust and
  • Meals on Wheels.

Each organisation received a cheque for R250 000.

SPAR says that in a world grappling with challenges and uncertainties, the '#SpreadSmiles' challenge was simple. Social communities were asked to create a piece of content that showed how they have encouraged kindness, spread joy or happiness or have made a positive change — however small — in their community and to others.

For every time the hashtag '#SpreadSmiles' was posted to social media alongside a video that shows how the participant brought a smile to the face of another, SPAR Inland donated R10 (per hashtag) to each of the four beneficiary organisations.

"'#SpreadSmiles' was more than just a hashtag; it was a call to action that aimed to uplift communities and support those in need. The thousands of shoppers who participated helped us generate awareness and smiles while making a positive change to countless lives, all resulting in the donations here this evening," D'Amico says. 

According to SPAR, the '#SpreadSmile's hashtag was used over 112 314 times across:
  • Facebook
  • X / Twitter
  • Instagram, and
  • TikTok.

The group adds that 23 157 users took up the challenge by submitting their unique submissions.

"The ethos of SPAR has always revolved around making a difference — not only in terms of providing quality products and services but also in actively contributing to the betterment of the individuals and communities it serves. SPAR Inland is proud to have initiated a campaign that sought to enhance lives, instill a spirit of goodwill and inspire a sense of well-being," says D'Amico.

The group says that over six weeks, the campaign transcended digital boundaries by using local landmark buildings in:
  • Pretoria
  • Mbombela
  • Rustenburg
  • Bloem, and
  • Kimberley

Temporary billboards deliberately drew attention to the campaign and actively recruited South Africans to become a part of the movement.

"In the face of the very many challenges that South Africans are facing right now, we hope the '#SpreadSmiles' feeling continues in our homes, our workplaces and our communities and that spreading kindness will become an everyday practice. As we've seen, smiles have the power to uplift, inspire and create positive change," concludes D'Amico.

For more information, visit www.spar.co.za. you can also follow the SPAR Group on Facebook.