The Alberni District Co-op has presented $37,500 to community groups and charitable organizations in the Alberni Valley.
Six different groups received cheques from Alberni District Co-op during a short ceremony on Wednesday, July 19. The presentation took place during the Co-op’s Member Appreciation Day celebration at the gas bar on Johnston Road. There were plenty of draws and prizes throughout the day, as well as a free barbecue lunch.
Meals on Wheels, which provides hot meals and a friendly visit to people in the community, received the largest donation, at $10,000.
The Port Alberni Backpack Program, which allows school children to take home food over the weekend to keep their families fed, received $7,500.
Meanwhile, the Port Alberni Maritime Heritage Society, Portal Players Dramatic Society, Port Alberni Shelter Society and the Port Alberni branch of the Special Olympics each received $5,000.
Livi De Rooy of Alberni District Co-op explained that the Co-op—which operates three gas stations and a liquor store in Port Alberni—has been donating to various causes over the past few decades. In 2022 the company decided to form a Community Investment Fund. The fund, which comes from the previous year’s profits, is meant to help with community projects that require a larger amount of funding.
The first year of the Community Investment Fund saw $25,000 donated to four different community organizations. This year, the amount of funding and the number of organizations helped was even higher.
De Rooy said that community groups send in applications and the successful recipients are selected by the Co-op’s board of directors.
“They try to decide which ones would have the biggest impact on our local community,” De Rooy said.
Alberni District Co-op holds a Members Appreciation Day every summer, but this summer they decided to split the event into five different days, each at different locations. The first one took place at Co-op’s Beaver Creek location in June.
“We wanted to reach more people,” said De Rooy. “The response from the community has been really good so far.”
The next appreciation day will take place at the Co-op Liquor Store at the bottom of Johnston Road on Friday, Aug. 11. This will be followed by an appreciation day on Friday, Sept. 15 at the 10th Avenue gas bar.
Alberni District Co-op will finish the summer with a Community Day at the Glenwood Centre on Saturday, Sept. 23.