Romance rules! Hallmark star leading new fundraising effort

Romance rules! Hallmark star leading new fundraising effort

A new fundraising effort by Hallmark star Benjamin Ayres has taken off, raising thousands of dollars for charities that help women and children.
The actor has designed hoodies, T-shirts, necklaces, teddy bears, and other merchandise featuring a distinctive Romance University logo. (If it looks vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s based on Harvard University’s logo.)

Now Hallmark stars from Ali Sweeney and Nikki DeLoach to Tyler Hynes and Andrew Walker have been seen sporting the merchandise.

Inspiration from fans

Last year, Ayres had a few buttons made for his fellow Hallmark co-stars featuring a “Hallmark University” logo. He took some along when he attended Christmas Con 2022 in New Jersey. At the event, he handed some out to fans.

“This was the first time that I had done one of these conventions, and it was great,” he said in an interview with Digital Journal. “Ultimately, I just could not have imagined how beautiful, strong, and heartfelt the community is for the movies that we make. It was an incredible feeling.”

Ayres created more merchandise and changed the logo from “Hallmark University” to “Romance University.” He began selling the apparel online with the goal of donating the proceeds to charity. The collection sold out in less than two weeks and raised more than $4,000, which Ayres donated to charities benefiting women and children.

On January 19, Ayres and his wife visited two of the organizations in Toronto that benefited from the fundraising efforts: Street Haven, a 50-bed emergency shelter, and Anduhyaun, the oldest Indigenous Women’s Shelter in Canada.

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Three Wise Men and a Baby

In early February, Ayres made a mockup of a logo featuring Andrew Walker, Tyler Hynes, and Paul Campbell in their roles in the Hallmark hit Three Wise Men and a Baby. He sent it to Walker, who responded with enthusiasm. The new line made its debut in time for Valentine’s Day. Proceeds from the line are going to Alexandria House, an LA transitional home for women and children handpicked by Walker and his wife, Cassandra Troy.

Three Wise Men and a Baby is the most-watched cable movie of the year.What's on the Hallmark schedule this weekend? New Christmas movies including Three Wise Men and a Baby. (Image: Hallmark Media)
(Image: Hallmark Media)

“The RU Alumni raised $5000 in less than two weeks for @alexandriahousela !!” read a post on Romance University’s Instagram page. “Andrew and Cassandra visited the women and dropped off a donation on Valentine’s Day. Could we even wish for anything better than that?!Congratulations everyone! @awalkk35 @casstroywalker @tyler_hynes @paulcampbellofficial.”

Ayres plans on introducing new designs on a regular basis and he is getting lots of support from his fellow Hallmark stars.

“It all started with these warm wonderful humans one evening in Vancouver. I can’t thank them enough for their support and kindness,” he wrote in a social media post.

About Ayres

Ayres had starring roles in the CTV series Saving Hope and the HBO Canada series Less Than Kind. (He was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for the latter.) He also appeared on the shows The Good Doctor, Suits, Burden of Truth, and JPod.

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In 2020, he co-starred with Nikki Deloach in the Countdown to Christmas movie Cranberry Christmas. In 2021, he co-starred with Danica McKellar in You, Me & the Christmas Trees. In 2022, he appeared in Long Lost Christmas and starred in Color My World With Love, a romantic drama featuring two actors with Down Syndrome.

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