End of Co-op Atlantic’s 50-50 membership lottery means big loss to Island charities
Dozens of charities in P.E.I. are out some coin following Co-op Atlantic’s decision to exit the food retail business.
The three corporatelyowned stores in the province - one in North Rustico and two in Charlottetown - had been running membership 50-50 draws up until recently.
However, they’ve stopped because Co-op Atlantic is selling two of those stores, the one in North Rustico and one located on Walker Drive in Charlottetown, to the Sobeys group. The other store on Queen Street in Charlottetown is in the process of closing.
Reg Shields, a member of the Charlottetown Food Markets Advisory Council, said the 50-50 lottery has raised more than $1.5 million for Island charities since its inception around 2008.
Last year alone, charities received more than $400,000 from the lottery. The final cheques have been mailed out. Since December, the lottery has raised about $178,000.
Shields said it’s tough to see it end.
“(They were) charities most in need that you want to support. It went to children . . . the lung association, Special Olympics, Council of Disabled, things that either dealt with disadvantages or running information programs for people with certain diseases,’’ Shields said.
The P.E.I. branch of the Children’s Wish Foundation was also one of the recipients.
Beth Gauthier, chapter director for the foundation, said they were always grateful for the donations.
“You’re dependent on those donations to execute your mission so every one of them is important,’’ Gauthier said. “Every organization that they helped over the years, I’m sure, are most grateful for the support they provided.’’
Gauthier is also quick to point out that Sobeys, which took over two of the Co-op stores, is a major supporter of Island charities. Sobeys supports the foundation, for example, through the HMCS Charlottetown’s Run for Wishes event as well as selling ride bracelets for Old Home Week.
“We have a wonderful relationship with Sobeys and we’re very pleased to continue that relationship.’’
Shields said it’s especially tough to see it end considering how hard it is for charities to find money these days.
“There isn’t that much money going to charities now. Provincial government has cut some of their funding. Now (organizations are) going to have to do a lot more fundraising to make up for it,’’ he said.
Reg Shields, left, president of the Charlottetown Co-op Food Markets Advisory Council and Gordon Muncey, right, director with the Advisory Council Walker Drive Co-op Food Market, presents a cheque to Beth Corney Gauthier, executive director, and Darryl Warren, development co-ordinator with the Children’s Wish Foundation on behalf of members of Charlottetown Co-op Food Markets. The end of the Charlottetown area co-ops also mean an end to donations like these.