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Helping to nurture the communities we serve has been part of our journey from the very beginning. When times get tough or a neighbour needs a helping hand, we step up. Community investment is one of our core values because we are deeply committed to the strength and health of the places we call home too.
Our communities face many challenges, including the pandemic, climate change, social justice and inequality to name a few. While we’re adapting how we do business and taking action to address these shared challenges, we also need to focus our efforts where we can have the biggest impact. Given our purpose as a family nurturing families, in fiscal year 2021 we created a new Community Investment strategy focused on nourishing healthy bodies and healthy minds. Ensuring more Canadians have access to healthy and affordable food, nutrition education and early interventions of child and youth mental health means Healthier Tomorrows for more Canadians.
We are committed to building Healthier Tomorrows for more Canadians, focusing our community investment on two pillars:
How We’re Making a Difference
Nourishing Healthy Bodies
Our commitment to nurture healthy bodies in our communities is focused on removing barriers for more neighbours to access healthy and affordable food. This includes making sure meals are possible as well as investing in innovative nutrition education resources. Every year we work with local charities to deliver millions of meals to people facing barriers to healthy eating. Almost 1,000 of our stores took part in our annual holiday food drive in December 2020, raising approximately $5.5 million across Canada.
Our teammates at IGA in Québec and teams in English Canada joined with La Tablée des Chefs and partners to support the Solidarity Kitchens initiative and the Kitchen Brigades. Thanks to this work, 100 kids accessed nutrition education resources and 526,000 meals were made possible. IGA in Québec was also proud to partner with Fondation Charles-Bruneau, raising and donating more than $1 million to support Project VIE, a collaboration with the CHU Sainte-Justine focused on healthy eating habits for children receiving chemotherapy.
In fiscal year 2021 we were proud to provide support for 41,000 Special Olympics athletes across 10 provincial chapters, thanks to $1.8 million raised by customers and donated by the company nationwide. In addition, almost 13,000 Special Olympic athletes took part in a series of eight online Sobeys Nutrition Breaks sessions, learning more about healthy eating strategies and habits.
Nurturing Healthy Minds
We believe healthy minds and healthy bodies go hand-in-hand — and that both are needed for our community members to flourish.
In fiscal year 2021 we launched the A Family of Support: Child & Youth Mental Health Initiative, a partnership with the Sobey Foundation and Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations. Inspired by the Sobey family’s decade-long legacy in mental health investments and our longstanding partnerships with children’s hospital foundations, this transformative joint effort has led to millions of dollars being invested to meet the specific provincial needs at 13 children’s hospitals across 11 Canadian provinces. This is the first time all 13 children’s hospital foundations are uniting behind one critical cause for families, and the first time we’ve partnered on a national initiative of this scale. In September 2020, over 1,800 of our stores took part in our campaign that raised over $2 million to support the initiative. Altogether, a total of $3.4 million was donated by the company and raised in the community in support of this initiative.
With a focus on vital early intervention programs and education, A Family of Support initiative is funding a total of 15 projects that will help to reduce hospital visits, lead to fewer patients reaching crisis stage, create new evidence-based treatments and provide the opportunity to share learnings across the country. For example, CHEO in Ottawa has established the Head to Toe project, offering suicide screening for all admitted, inpatient youth aged 12 and over. The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba has created a new Urgent Tele-Mental Health Service to support children and adolescents at risk in rural and remote Indigenous communities to break down barriers and further connect the hospital to Indigenous and rural communities. By Spring 2022, the 13 children’s hospitals plan to set, track and report on defined measures of success beyond initial outputs, including a single overall metric of impact. Canadians can learn more about the programs and our partnership at www.afamilyofsupport.com.