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Nominate a hero for BC Autism Awards

Quality Foods sponsoring the third annual awards
Quality Foods president Noel Hayward (right) with Autism Award winners Julie Tempelton and Nathan Bodie. (PHOTO COURTESY PETITE PHOTOGRAPHY)

AutismBC will be accepting nominations for its third annual BC Autism Awards and raffle until Aug. 28.

The awards, called The Heroes in Our Story, celebrates the “everyday autism heroes” who have had a positive impact on the autism community, whether through volunteering, inclusive hiring practises, self-advocating or championing opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Vancouver Island’s Quality Foods has stepped up again this year to support the awards by sponsoring the Regional Community Impact Award for Vancouver Island. The award goes to an individual, business, program or community group that has demonstrated a commitment to creating inclusive communities by championing opportunities for community members on the autism spectrum on Vancouver Island.

Quality Foods’ involvement started a few years ago through AutismBC Volunteer, Grant Rigsby. When Grant retired from 35 years in the food business, he became a “Grandfather with a Cause,” inspired by his grandson with autism.

“Grant was the first salesperson to call on Quality Foods when we only had one little 7,000 square foot store in Qualicum, about 38 years ago,” said Quality Foods president Noel Hayward. “When we heard Grant’s story, and about the positive progress and the challenges for children and families impacted by autism, we were motivated to find ways to support the families on Vancouver Island and other parts of B.C.”

Since then, Quality Foods has contributed more than $10,000 to AutismBC through various in-store fundraising initiatives, and by each year sponsoring the BC Autism Awards.

Today in British Columbia, there are more than 60,000 people on the autism spectrum. Approximately 2,700 of them, ages 18 years and younger, are on Vancouver Island. AutismBC has been serving the autism community since 1975 and each year provides support to individuals across the province.

“We are very grateful to our dedicated volunteer ambassador Grant Rigsby, and to Quality Foods for their ongoing support,” said Julia Boyle, Executive Director of AutismBC. “Together their involvement has not only raised funds but helped spread the word about autism, diversity and inclusion. The awards sponsorship is a great boost, especially with the fundraising challenges we are facing with COVID-19. With $1,000 of their sponsorship going towards a project for the winner of that category, their support has an even greater impact on the Vancouver Island community.”

The BC Autism Awards are on now across the province, with nominations open until August 28th. Running alongside the BC Autism Awards is the AutismBC raffle, raising funds to support autism initiatives throughout the province. The grand prize is a brand-new Nissan Kicks SV donated by Applewood Auto Group. The raffle is open until October 25, with an early bird draw on August 28. Raffle tickets are just $20 each and are available online.

To nominate your everyday autism hero in the BC Autism Awards, or to purchase an AutismBC raffle ticket, visit or call 604-434-0880 ext. 102.