‘Community Chest’ again chosen as Safeway charity

For the third time in five years, the “Community Chest” has been chosen to partner with the local Canada Safeway store for its 2005/06 “We Care” campaign.
“We’re on board,” said Georges Blanc, a member of the “Community Chest” fundraising committee and co-owner of La Place Rendez-Vous.
While staff at the local Canada Safeway had voted for their chosen charity over two days last week, with the votes being tallied Saturday, the “Community Chest” had to hold a meeting yesterday afternoon to confirm its participation.
Apparently, the application to the “We Care” campaign had been made without the “Community Chest” core committee’s knowledge.
“And all of a sudden, we were faced with Safeway choosing us and I had to make sure all these groups were on side,” explained Blanc, adding the “Community Chest” is comprised of members of the local Kiwanis and Lions clubs, the Legion Ladies Auxiliary, “Spirit of Christmas,” and Knights of Columbus.
Blanc noted Safeway’s fundraising campaign certainly will help out the “Community Chest,” which has distributed $50,000 in the first 10 months of 2005 to help out numerous local families with medical needs.
Meanwhile, Canada Safeway staff said they’re once again looking forward to working with the “Community Chest.”
“We’re always happy to work with the ‘Community Chest,’” Safeway manager Dave McBride said Monday. “They have an extensive volunteer base, and they do great work.”
Just last year, former Canada Safeway assistant manager Cory Delbridge and his family were helped out by the “Community Chest” when his young daughter, Alicia, needed emergency medical care, McBride noted.
A total of seven applications were turned in prior to last Thursday night’s deadline. Employees then voted Friday and Saturday as to which non-profit organization they thought would be the best to help out.
Their votes were tallied up Saturday afternoon, at which time it was found the “Community Chest” was the preferred choice.
It also was the local store’s chosen charity in 2002 and 2003-04.
Safeway employee Vilma Valenzuela, who once again is heading up the campaign locally, said Monday the “Community Chest” was a “clear winner.”
“It’s a good cause,” she remarked. “Even the day we were doing the vote, we had customers asking, ‘Is the ‘Community Chest’ in the running? Did they put in an application?’
“There’s a lot of Safeway customers and employees that have benefited from the ‘Community Chest,’” Valenzuela added.
She noted she and store management are communicating with the “Community Chest” committee to find out what they want to do for fundraising in the year ahead.
“We hope to do three promotions from now until the first of July,” Blanc said, adding the first raffle would kick off late next month, with the draw date coinciding with the “Community Chest” benefit dinner Jan. 29.
The other two draws would follow in the spring and summer.
Valenzuela also noted a “top-up day” with “celebrity baggers” will be held Saturday, Nov. 26.
“[Top-up day] is a nice way for customers to know who’s involved with the charity and what they do,” said Valenzuela.
Since first adopting charities in 1998, local Safeway employees also have helped raise money for the Riverside Foundation for Health Care, Friends of the Library, Fort Frances Friends of Animals, the Kiwanis skate park, and, most recently, Crime Stoppers.
The “Push for Playgrounds” partnership with Crime Stoppers this past year raised $12,956.
Since the Safeway “We Care” program’s inception in 1998, more than $12 million has been raised for charities across Canada.

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