Special Olympics British Columbia British Columbia

Safeway nourishes Special Olympics champions

30 November 2015

From October 16 to November 1, the 2015 Special Olympics Canada and Safeway Nourish Champions campaign raised significant funds and awareness for Special Olympics programs in communities across western Canada. This year’s campaign, which raised $520,084 nationwide, had an emphasis on nourishing champions and supporting Special Olympics athletes, coaches and parents in their pursuit of proper nutrition in order to perform their best. 

Safeway customers were invited to make a donation of $2 at any Safeway store and in return receive 5 AIR MILES Reward Miles. The campaign featured an awareness day on October 24, where Special Olympics BC athletes and volunteers visited Safeway stores throughout the province.

In 100 Mile House (pictured below right), the local athletes greeted Safeway customers at the door and pointed them to coffee and cake in the floral department. Safeway donated a wooden bird house and SOBC – 100 Mile House fundraising coordinator Pat Oldershaw made a beautiful placemat set for a draw. Local Coordinator Denise Thiessen said the support from Safeway and their community is so appreciated.

“We had a great day, met some wonderful people, and the awesome support from the community is overwhelming!” Thiessen said. “We enjoy doing this each year as it gets my athletes mingling with the community, and it's wonderful to see the smiles on their faces, but also on the customers’ faces!”

Safeway staff go to great lengths to deliver strong campaigns in their stores to benefit Special Olympics. In the Surrey Fleetwood store, Produce Manager Jason Purnell challenged the staff to don the jerseys of the Montreal Canadiens – the team their store manager most hates – and they couldn’t take them off until the store raised $1,000 in donations that day!

Also in Surrey, the Strawberry Hill store staff worked hard to promote the campaign and recruited local Princess Margaret Secondary School students to assist, while SOBC – Surrey volunteer and athletes had the opportunity to chat with local families and distribute information about their programs.

Hundreds of SOBC athletes and volunteers around the province provide terrific support for the efforts of their local Safeway stores and do a wonderful job of generating awareness.

Pictured at left: SOBC – Vernon at one of their local Safeway stores

The 2015 campaign marked the eighth year Safeway has partnered with Special Olympics Canada and their 38,000 athletes in communities across the country. Through this long-standing partnership, Safeway has raised more than $2.6 million to support Special Olympics programs throughout Canada, including $698,732 during last year’s campaign.  

To celebrate local Special Olympics champions, the promotional material for this year’s campaign featured region-specific athletes, some of whom are Safeway employees. Safeway currently employs 300 individuals with intellectual disabilities.

“Helping our neighbours living with a diverse range of abilities has long been a Safeway priority,” said Chuck Mulvenna, President of Safeway Operations, Sobeys Inc. “As a company that proudly employs hundreds of people living with disabilities, Safeway directly benefits from the incredible work of Special Olympics Canada.”

Pictured at right: SOBC – Powell River at Safeway

SOBC – Mission athlete Amanda Peebles has been a Safeway employee for eight years. A member of the soccer team that competed at the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games, Peebles says she loves being an athlete and loves her job.

“It is great to be a part of Safeway and Special Olympics. They both help me to eat healthy and stay active,” she says. “Working at Safeway lets me meet customers and help them with their groceries. I love doing that! If they don’t need help, I still say ‘Have a nice day!’

“It makes me happy that Safeway supports Special Olympics.”

In November 2015, Special Olympics Canada and Sobeys Inc. announced an expanded national partnership through the Sobeys Better Food Fund, taking their significant support of Special Olympics coast to coast. The partnership will centre on providing increased access to nutrition education for Canadians with intellectual disabilities.

Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians for 108 years. Sobeys owns or franchises approximately 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, and Lawton's Drug Stores as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 125,000 people. The company’s purpose is to help Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at sobeyscorporate.com.

Pictured below: SOBC – Vancouver and SOBC – Abbotsford helped kick off the campaign in style at local Safeway stores

SOBC - Castlegar helping out at their local Safeway to support the Nourish Champions fundraising campaign.

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