By Sulz, Dave on September 2, 2020.
Special Olympics Canada recently announced a $1-million donation made by corporate partner Sobeys Inc. and its family of retail banners across Canada (Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo and Thrifty Foods).
These funds will directly support 49,600 Special Olympics athletes and the 22,000 volunteers that deliver more than 6,175 programs in 365 communities across Canada.
During these unprecedented times, when regular programs are suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Special Olympics Canada adapted by creating and expanding virtual program offerings to combat social isolation and foster community engagement among athletes and volunteers. The top priority was to ensure athletes remained safe, healthy and active at home while feeling connected and supported throughout this difficult time until it is safe for athletes and volunteers to return to play.
“While participation in sport is the driver, we cannot underestimate how much our athletes look to Special Olympics as their social connection to friends and community,” Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada, said in a news release. “As COVID-19 protocols start to lift in various parts of the country, we are also doing everything we can to be poised and ready to get our community sports programs up and running again. This incredibly generous donation from Sobeys Inc. provides much-needed support for our athletes’ immediate needs and our efforts to re-start programs as soon as it is safe to do so. The sports programs offered in our communities every day are the heart and soul of Special Olympics – the very reason we exist – and Sobeys is ensuring we can get back to the magic of these community programs.”
“As a proud national partner of Special Olympics Canada, we are continually inspired by the dedication and perseverance of these athletes,” said Sandra Sanderson, Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Sobeys Inc. “At Sobeys Inc., we stand by our legacy of providing access to healthy food and nutrition education for Special Olympics athletes. We made the difficult decision to cancel our in-store fundraising campaign scheduled for this past June because of COVID-19. Instead, we’ve made a corporate donation to ensure Special Olympics’ grassroots, community-based sports programs across Canada are not impacted in such a challenging year.”
Since the partnership began in 2016 and with this donation, Sobeys Inc. has contributed more than $5.4 million in food and funds to Special Olympics Canada.