giving back I

t’s hard to be part of a community if you’re not giving back to it in some way. If you’re part of South County Co-op, it is simply impossible not to.

Supporting local is why Co-ops exist in the first place, and doing whatever it can — whenever it can — for regional charities and organizations is one of South Country’s top priorities.

“A portion of the Co-op’s profits is earmarked every year for donations,” says CEO Paul Haynes. “We use that money to support community needs — sports, clubs, events, youth organizations, non-profits, you name it.

“Do you have a local playground that’s falling apart? Not in a community where there’s a Co-op.”

While some larger retail chains often have a specific charity or cause they contribute to, a Co-op is able to spread support around. The goal is to help in as many communities as it can; once the donation budget is set, that money is going to be spent within South Country’s region — every cent.

The money raised for the community doesn’t stop at the annual budget either. On top of that guaranteed-to-be-spent budget, South Country contributes massive amounts of money in other ways.

For example, South Country’s Gift Card Fundraiser program has already raised more than $100,000 for local youth groups in 2019 alone. Or, bring your

reusable shopping bags to the checkout and three cents for each one used per transaction will be donated to the local Ronald McDonald House, the Taber District Health Foundation, and Vauxhall Public Library, depending on the community you’re shopping in. The annual Paper Hearts campaign in February raises thousands every year for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

whether that’s rebuilding a fence damaged by wildfire or making lunches to ensure kids are well fed and ready to learn.

“That’s what being a part of a Co-op is. It’s about getting involved right down to the dirt.”

Volunteering is simply the Co-op way. If there’s one way of giving back that ranks as South Country’s favourite, it’s getting out into the community to provide boots- on-the-ground assistance whenever it’s needed. And in this region, it’s needed a lot.

That’s what being

a part of a Co-op is. It’s about getting

involved right down to the dirt.

These fundraising efforts exist alongside the annual donations budget, but for South Country giving back means more than just monetarily.

“It isn’t just about the money, cutting a cheque,” says Hudson. “It’s really about being part of the community. It’s actually about caring, it’s about taking a step into that farmer’s field, or that school that needs our help and making a difference,

No matter the community, the passion people feel for their families, friends and neighbours is strong, and there always seems to be some charity, some group, some caring individual looking to raise money for a great cause. Look no further than your local Co-op, which has an army of people ready and willing to show up and help.

“If it’s a need in our community, we will do everything we can to fill it,” Hudson says. “We don’t want anybody to slip through the cracks — we want to make the places where we live better.”

Maybe it means feeding sugar beet farmers backed up at the processing plant during harvest, or packing lunches and heading out to find them in the fields. Maybe it’s working at a charity golf tournament, or braving the elements to host a barbecue — if hands are needed, South Country has them to lend.

16 | CO-OP Telling our Story

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