Safeway Employees Serve Up Support

Published Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Safeway Employees Serve Up Support

Presenting the generous donation of $10,966 to support cancer and cardiac care, on behalf of Safeway employees, through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation Campaign are (left to right): Brandon Farough, Manager, Safeway Court St; Alex Siciliano, Manager, Dawson Road Safeway; Anita Lafontaine, Assistant Manager, Safeway Arthur St; and Tracey Larocque, MSc, RMT, WE-Can Team.

By Heather Vita

Making communities a better place to live has always been important to Safeway employees. The Safeway Employee Payroll Donation Campaign started many years ago and has made a significant difference in the communities where Safeway stores are located.  It continues today, now as part of Sobeys Inc., providing long-time contributors and new Safeway retail employees the chance to give back to their local community.

In 2019, Safeway employees chose to generously support both cardiac and cancer care at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre with a donation of $10,966. Funds for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation were raised by employees in stores, offices and distribution centres in Ontario via regularly scheduled deductions.  Employees in Safeway stores and legacy Canada Safeway employees in offices and distribution centres were also provided the option to participate. 

A total of $6,185.01 was directed specifically to the WE-Can program which is available to patients of Regional Cancer Care who are in active cancer treatment or are up to five years post-treatment.

Kelly-Jo Gillis, the Manager of Preventive Health Services at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, explained the program’s components. “We begin with an assessment and development of an  individual program. Participants referred to the program undergo a medical history and physical fitness assessment. Based on the results of the evaluation, a personalized exercise prescription is developed.”

Continued Gillis, “Participants are then offered a Wellness & Exercise program including cardio and strength training exercises along with group warm up, cool down, and stretching. They also have access to educational group presentation with topics such as the importance of physical activity and home based exercise programs, healthy eating and grocery store tour (including a tour of a local Safeway store), and stress reduction/relaxation/stretching. In addition, a personalized dietary assessment and consultation is available for each participant. Finally, each participant receives group support. The supportive environment of the program allows participants to share experiences of cancer and treatment with others which can help reduce anxiety and build coping skills.”

Safeway employees also supported cardiac care and a total of $4,781.11 was directed to the Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program, which offers unique education opportunities and exercise plans for individuals with Chronic Disease across Northwestern Ontario.

Kyle Baysarowich, the Manager of Cardiovascular Rehabilitation at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre said, “The program primarily focuses on individuals who have cardiovascular disease, have suffered a heart attack,  and those recovering from lifesaving interventions such as angioplasty, Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, and Valve repair/replacement, as well as individuals living with vascular disease and vascular intervention for limb preservation.”

Baysarowich shared his excitement about the program’s growth. “The positive impact of this program on rehabilitating patients has continued to grow with referral rates reaching 1650 annually for participants across Northwestern Ontario.  The Thunder Bay Regional health Sciences Centre along with its 12 partner sites strive to bring excellent care close to home. Over the past few years, the program team has been working on  enhancements aimed at reducing wait times, increasing capacity, improving compliance rates, and most importantly improving participant outcomes. With the ongoing support of Safeway employees’ generous donations the program has been able to improve patient care, via educational tools used in class (Participant Manual), an updated program website with patient educational material and videos for participants, their families, as well as, health care providers across the northwest. Most recently, the Safeway Payroll Donation Campaign has provided the facility with new exercise cycles that have allowed patients more options when exercising and ensure that class sizes can remain constant.”

Because of Safeway employees’ generosity, both the WE-Can program and Cardiovascular Rehabilitation program continue to serve the needs of clients and support them in living their best lives.


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