Thrifty Foods is the largest supermarket chain on Vancouver Island, and since its inception by Alex Campbell and Ernie Skinner back in 1977, the company has been committed to giving back to the community.
Now, on the eve of their 40th anniversary, Thrifty Foods has continued the tradition by presenting a cheque for $23,003 to Easter Seals British Columbia/Yukon, a charity committed to enriching the lives of children with disabilities.
“We’ve had a connection with Easter Seals for more than 20 years,” said Vivian Chenard, manager of community relations for Thrifty Foods. “The funds are used for both Easter Seal House, which is a place for families to stay while the children are in the hospital, and for the Easter Seal Camp operated every summer at Camp Shawinigan.”
Two other camps also operate on the mainland.
The funds were raised in January when Thrifty donated 50 cents from the sale of every Thrifty Kitchens Soup.
Customers were also invited to contribute to Easter Seals by donating their three-cent reusable bag refund or by making a cash donation at the till.
But the bigger story is certainly how this latest gift is only a part of the charitable initiatives of the Vancouver Island company.
For example, for 30 years Thrifty Foods has been a regular contributor to food banks across B.C., having contributed more than $2.4 million in groceries during that time. Their annual Fresh Food for Families and B.C. Sharing programs annually provide 15 community-based food banks with a total of nearly $400,000.
In another initiative, Thrifty Foods devised an innovative way for area residents to donate to a community organization of their choice. It’s called the Smile Card program and hundreds of community charities have registered so that Thrifty Food customers who support their cause can simply show the Smile Card linked to that organization and donate five per cent of the funds loaded on the gift card to that group.
More than $6 million has been raised for community groups in this way.
The list of other gifts and giving initiatives continues and, according to Chenard, is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to its roots and the community.
“Since day one we’ve always given back to the community. It’s one of the pillars of our corporate culture to be in the community and work to make the community better,” she said, adding that during their anniversary celebrations, a different charity will be targeted every month. At the end of February the Heart and Stroke Foundation will be receiving a donation for their work in the community.
Thrifty Foods became a division of Sobeys Inc. in 2007 but continues to operate independently in B.C. Information on the charitable initiatives of Thrifty Foods can be found at thriftyfoods.com.