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Thrifty Foods Volunteer-Lead Sendial Shopping Program Marks 25 Years

February 1, 2012
VICTORIA, BC - After 25 years serving thousands of housebound Thrifty Foods customers across Vancouver Island, Saltspring Island and the Lower Mainland, President Jim Dores today marked the 25th Anniversary of the volunteer-run shopping service, 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," says Dores. "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 over 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 the stores. Sendial volunteers call customers, take orders and shop for groceries during the week. Thrifty Foods Home Delivery Drivers then assist by delivering the orders to the doors and, in some cases, into the homes of those in need.

"At the beginning I sort of envisioned 30 volunteers and a few orders," wrote Prue Cunningham in 1988. "After just one year, we now have about 55 volunteers and average one hundred orders a week."

Today, the Sendial program includes over 600 volunteers and averages 1,000 grocery orders weekly. The service is currently available in twenty-five Thrifty Foods stores and Sapperton, the newest store to open under the banner, is scheduled to launch the service in the New Westminster area in the spring of 2012.

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, click here.

Thrifty Foods was founded in 1977 in Victoria, BC. Today, Thrifty Foods, a banner of Sobeys Inc., has a total of 27 retail grocery stores across the Lower Mainland and throughout Vancouver Island.

About Sobeys Inc.
Proudly Canadian, with headquarters in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Sobeys has been serving the food shopping needs of Canadians for 104 years. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Empire Company Limited (TSX:EMP.A), Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,300 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, and Thrifty Foods, as well as Lawton's Drug Stores. Sobeys and its franchise affiliates employ more than 95,000 people. The company's goal is to be widely recognized as the best food retailer and workplace environment in Canada. More information on Sobeys Inc. can be found at


For more information, please contact:
Erin Kelly, Communications Manager
Thrifty Foods
Tel: (250) 483-1690 Cell: (250) 661-3759