Cash­ing out

End of Co-op At­lantic’s 50-50 mem­ber­ship lottery means big loss to Is­land char­i­ties

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE - dstew­art@the­ Twit­­wart

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.

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