Business

Thrifty's volunteer-run shopping service marks 25th anniversary

After 25 years serving thousands of housebound Thrifty Foods customers across Vancouver Island, Saltspring Island and the Lower Mainland, Wednesday marked the 25th anniversary of the volunteer-run shopping service dubbed Sendial.
“Sendial is unlike anything I have ever seen offered in this industry and we are proud to be part of such a critically important service,” company president Jim Dores said. “Sendial, with its long and vibrant history, is more than just a weekly grocery delivery service, it is also a lifeline to many and I want to thank each of our more than 600 dedicated Sendial volunteers for the services they provide to our customers.”
Started in 1987 by Thrifty Foods customer Prue Cunningham and Thrifty Foods co-founder Alex A. Campbell, Sendial is a grocery shopping and home delivery service geared towards individuals who have been injured or have some other physical impediment to prevent them from easily accessing or independently shopping in stores. Sendial volunteers call customers, take orders and shop for groceries during the week. Thrifty Foods home delivery drivers then assist by delivering orders to doors and, in some cases, into the homes of those in need.
“At the beginning I envisioned 30 volunteers and a few orders,” Cunningham wrote in 1988. “After just one year, we now have about 55 volunteers and average 100 orders a week.”
The Sendial program includes more than 600 volunteers and averages 1,000 grocery orders weekly. The service is available in 25 Thrifty Foods stores. Sapperton, the newest store to open under the banner, is scheduled to launch Sendial in the New Westminster area in the spring.
As part of the 25th Anniversary, Thrifty Foods also celebrated the efforts of five volunteers — Birnie Braithwaite, Ted Dever, Lorraine Harrington,Norma Lewis and Norma Wilson – who have been part of the program since 1987. The celebration is part of an annual tradition to recognize years of service in the program. To view a digital history of the program, visit www.thriftyfoods.com/sendial.
Thrifty Foods was founded in 1977 in Victoria. A banner of Sobeys Inc., the business has a total of 27 retail grocery stores across the Lower Mainland and throughout Vancouver Island. Visit www.thriftyfoods.com.
— Thrifty Foods

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