TORONTO, Aug. 10, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Special Olympics Canada announced today 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. 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.” Sharon Bollenbach, CEO, Special Olympics Canada
“As a proud national partner of Special Olympics Canada, we are continually inspired by the dedication and perseverance of these athletes. At Sobeys Inc., we stand by our legacy of providing access to healthy food and nutrition education for Special Olympics athletes,” said Sandra Sanderson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Sobeys Inc. “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 generous donation, Sobeys Inc. has contributed more than $5.4 million in food and funds to Special Olympics Canada.
Interview opportunities are available with representatives from Special Olympics Canada, Sobeys Inc. and local Special Olympics athletes. Please contact:
Larissa Cahute, Communication & Media Manager, Special Olympics Canada
416 927 9050 ext. 4405
416 695 4551
Natasha Compton, Director, External Communications, Sobeys Inc.
902 943 7091
About Special Olympics Canada
The Canadian program of this global movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 49,600 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 22,000 volunteers, including more than 16,000 trained coaches. For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @SpecialOCanada.
About Sobeys Inc.
Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians since 1907. Sobeys Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX: EMP.A), owns, affiliates or franchises more than 1,500 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, Safeway, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, Thrifty Foods, Farm Boy and Lawtons Drugs as well as more than 350 retail fuel locations. Sobeys, its franchisees and affiliates employ approximately 127,000 people. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at www.sobeyscorporate.com.