Marlene Johnsrude weaves with a loom at a weekly fundraiser for B.C. Children’s Hospital at the Save-On-Foods at Country Club Centre in Nanaimo Aug. 3. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Marlene Johnsrude weaves with a loom at a weekly fundraiser for B.C. Children’s Hospital at the Save-On-Foods at Country Club Centre in Nanaimo Aug. 3. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo supermarket gets creative in fundraising efforts for B.C. Children’s Hospital

Cashier at Country Club Centre store spearheads efforts, which includes gift basket raffles

A Save-On-Foods employee at Country Club Centre in Nanaimo will exhibit the art of fundraising throughout the month of August.

Trish Maguire, an employee of 18 years, has been organizing B.C. Children’s Hospital fundraising efforts since spring 2019. There is a fundraising display front of the store every Tuesday, featuring a roulette prize wheel, giveaways and numerous arts and crafts for sale. She said she needed something to keep work fresh and stimulating, and the idea started with her making and selling yarn dolls at the till.

Asking for money for charity can be uncomfortable, but B.C. Children’s Hospital is a noble cause, said Maguire. “Nobody wanted to ask, customers would get annoyed, so I thought, if I had something to give them in exchange for them giving me a dollar or two, I enjoy doing the work, it was very creative, I’m a creative person by nature, and it sort of built in room for conversation and it worked,” said Maguire. “I had people giving me $2, $5, $10 for a yarn doll.”

Eventually, strangers began approaching Maguire, offering assistance, and the fundraiser grew.

Maguire no longer makes the dolls, but she has been able to shift her efforts thanks to support from numerous local businesses that participate, donating gift certificates and merchandise for raffled gift baskets and goodie bags sold at cash registers.

There are monthly themes – July’s theme was music and August’s is art. Maguire will contribute some art pieces that will be sold or raffled off.

Maguire said the fundraiser has re-invigorated her.

“I was happy to show up at work because I was contributing something kind of unique,” said Maguire. “I was making people happy. I was earning money for children’s hospital and it was not hard.”

Roger Junker, Save-On-Foods’ regional director, said he is pleased with the store’s efforts to raise money.

“We are very proud of what the team at our Country Club store is doing to fundraise for B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation, a very worthy cause that is near and dear to our hearts,” Junker said in an e-mail. “This team raised an incredible $17,294 during our 2020-2021 fundraising year.”

More than $40 million has been donated to children’s hospitals across western Canada over the years from Save-On-Foods and its supply partners, team members and customers, Junker said.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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