Let me is­sue a chal­lenge

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

The re­cent pur­chase of Co-op stores in the re­gion, and the clo­sure of the Queen Street lo­ca­tion in Char­lot­te­town, has been noted and lamented by many peo­ple. Let me add my voice. I'm par­tic­u­larly sad at the end of Co-op's won­der­ful sup­port of so many non-profit groups through the Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil chaired by Reg Shields. The list of or­ga­ni­za­tions as­sisted by Co-op fund­ing is long and im­pres­sive, as is the amount chan­neled to the char­i­ta­ble/vol­un­teer sec­tor each year.

The Joyrid­ers Ther­a­peu­tic Rid­ing As­so­ci­a­tion was one of the groups helped by Co-op do­na­tions. We have pro­vided ther­a­peu­tic rid­ing for Is­lan­ders with dis­abil­i­ties since 1979. As vol­un­teer Board mem­ber with Joyrid­ers, I know how use­ful the thou­sands of dol­lars we re­ceived were. We get no gov­ern­ment fund­ing and rely on our own fundrais­ing ef­forts and as­sis­tance from or­ga­ni­za­tions like Easter Seals, Ro­tary, Lions Clubs, and a few loyal long-time cor­po­rate and in­di­vid­ual friends. What was es­pe­cially welcome about the Co-op fund­ing was it was not ear­marked for a dis­tinct, vis­i­ble item, but could be used to help the or­ga­ni­za­tion run the pro­gram that de­fines it. Like other or­ga­ni­za­tions, we will have to find a way to make up the loss.

I re­al­ize that Sobeys has a char­i­ta­ble pro­gram, and has helped some very worth­while causes and or­ga­ni­za­tions. A num­ber of years ago they made an un­so­licited do­nated to Joyrid­ers, which we ap­pre­ci­ated.

But it doesn't re­place the broadly spread grass-roots sup­port of Co-op's pro­gram. So, my chal­lenge to Sobeys is to repli­cate what is be­ing lost. Why not weekly 50-50 draws with the pro­ceeds go­ing to char­i­ta­ble groups? It worked for Co-op, why not Sobeys? Does any­one agree? Andy Robb, Mer­maid

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