In previous years, anytime the Oaklands Community Association needed food or refreshments for an event or program, they’d approach Thrifty Foods Hillside to see if the grocer could chip in. From the annual Seniors Christmas Turkey Dinner to other events, Store Manager Gord Simons was happy to support with nourishing local food, but he soon decided there was a better way to help.
“They’d approach me for bits and pieces for each little event, but instead we decided to donate $1000 in SMILE Cards so they can easily get what they need throughout the year,” he says.
The Oaklands Community Association offers a wide range of recreation programs, a summer and winter farmers market, a childcare centre, out-of-school care, camps, youth drop-in programs, community services, events, and learning workshops for everyone from newborns to seniors.
“We’re really proud of what we do with the Oaklands Community Association. They work at the grassroots level of our immediate community and make a positive impact every day.”
Big and little gestures to support the Hillside community
The sizeable SMILE Card donation to the Oaklands Community Association isn’t the only way Thrifty Foods Hillside gives back to the neighbourhood. They also provide opportunities at checkout for members of the community to support a variety of charities with a small donation, contribute to CFAX Santas Anonymous, Thrifty Foods Youth Golf Clinics and more.
“Our Sendial Program is another great example of the community coming together to help those in need. If seniors or people with disabilities aren’t able to come into our stores to shop for themselves, a team of dedicated volunteers will do their shopping for them. It allows people to live independently at home that much longer,” Simons says.
A cornerstone of the community
Simons started working at Thrifty Foods Quadra McKenzie as a high school student, and hasn’t looked back since. He’s been a proud employee for over 40 years, and a store manager for almost 30 years (he moved to Thrifty Foods Hillside in 2021). Now he gets to help other high school students get their start, and says the store is always happy to accommodate employee schedules, whether they’re involved in school sports or raising a family at home.
Of course the food at the popular BC grocer has also been a cornerstone of the community for decades.
“Our Sterling Silver Beef really stands out as an example of the quality we offer,” Simons says. “And you’ll see our Seven Layer Dip at every family gathering or potluck you go to in Victoria! It’s a staple, and we make it fresh at Thrifty Kitchens in Saanichton.”
To learn more, visit thriftyfoods.com/community or stop by Thrifty Foods Hillside at 1580 Hillside Ave.