It’s official: Canadian grocers care about their communities in a big way. In an effort to recognize the admirable efforts grocers across the country put into their local towns and cities, we launched the Canadian Grocer Community Service Awards (CSA) this year. In the spring, we opened the submissions process to anyone who wanted to share their own store initiatives (or those of others). From there, our panel of expert judges whittled down the entries to 10 finalists.
We’re proud to announce the four winning stores and expanded coverage on their programs in the November issue of Canadian Grocer. The quality and number of entries for the CSAs impressed Canadian Grocer editor, Rob Gerlsbeck. “I was astounded by just how much thought and heart these grocers put into their efforts. Some are simple enough ideas, but the impact they make is huge. These stores are really making a difference in their communities and prove they’re about much more than running a business.”
The four winners (two are chain owned, two are independent) of the 2010 Canadian Grocer Community Service Awards are:
Thrifty Foods (Colwood, B.C.) Store manager Jason Boudewyn (pictured above) took it upon his store to step in and pay the annual salary of a local elementary school crossing guard when funding for the position was cut. When Sheryl Bruell (pictured above) stepped in as the store’s manager, she kept up the funding.
Save-On-Foods (Nanaimo, B.C.) Not only does Save-On-Foods sponsor the annual Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival, which raises money to buy equipment for breast cancer treatment at Nanaimo Hospital, its three stores in the city also donate food and funds to the cause and hold two mega banquets that are staffed by store volunteers and family members.
Colemans (Corner Brook, N.L.) Every September, Colemans sends an important message to kids through its Kids Eat Healthy program. Through store tours and classroom visits by the staff, kids learn the value of nutritious food. The store has another program through which it donates about $20,000 each February to schools so they can buy playground equipment and recreational supplies. Colemans has also donated $40,000 to school breakfast programs since 2005.
Swan Valley Co-op (Swan River, Man.) Rather than toss its dated products, this store donates most of them to its local food bank. It even freezes some of its meats once they’re dated so they can be donated as well. These actions benefit roughly 100 families every month.
The CSAs were sponsored by Campbell’s and Chatelaine magazine.
To enter your store in the 2011 Community Service Awards, click here.