Safeway and Thrifty Foods

Together we raised $1.2M in support of Special Olympics athletes across Canada!

From June 1 to 8, 2023, Safeway, Thrifty Foods, and Empire Company Limited banner stores from coast to coast held their in-store fundraising campaign to support Special Olympics athletes across Canada. Customers generously donated in stores, and Empire Company Limited matched donations up to $500,000!*

Funds raised provide athletes with an intellectual disability the opportunity to participate in sport, make friends, learn skills, and stay healthy. 

Sincere thanks to all Empire Company stores and staff and all donors for helping to create more inclusive communities across Canada!

Many thanks also to the Special Olympics BC athletes and volunteers who visited local Safeway and Thrifty Foods stores to raise awareness and support!

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Empire Company Limited, a dedicated partner of Special Olympics Canada since 2016, helps our athletes, families, and coaches eat better and feel better with nutrition guides, cooking classes, and fresh, accessible food.

*100% of the money raised was donated to Special Olympics Canada with no administration fees retained by Empire Company Limited. No tax receipts were issued for the donation made during this time. Empire Company Limited matched donations made in-store to a maximum of $500,000 from June 1-8, 2023. For more information please visit:



Meet SOBC Athletes

Ellah Orr has been building her skills and confidence as a Special Olympics athlete for the last two years. She participates in Abbotsford's Active Start and FUNdamentals youth programs, where her mother Mariah volunteers as the co-program leader!

Ellah's favorite game to play at her youth programs is "Duck, Duck, Goose." She also enjoys playing with balloons and parachutes with her friends! For Mariah, it is the friendships formed through sport that have become so important to Ellah. She says she loves "that there is a space for my daughter to work on sport skills at her own pace while being included on a team."

"Every person deserves to feel like they belong and are a part of a team," Mariah says.

“We have seen so many benefits for Ellah in joining special Olympics, from her skills to the joy it brings her to socialize with peers," mariah says. “It has provided an inclusive space for her to explore different sports while allowing her to grow her confidence.”

Watch Mariah and Ellah on CTV Morning Live


Safeway and Thrifty Foods employees

Safeway and Thrifty Foods are diverse and inclusive workplaces. Many Special Olympics BC athletes are proud employees of Safeway and Thrifty Foods!

Meet Sheenagh Morrison

Meet Ashley Adie

Meet Scott Fattedad 



As a proud Special Olympics Canada partner for many years, Safeway and Thrifty Foods have supported Special Olympics health programs and created opportunities for athletes, families, and coaches to access nutrition guides, cooking classes, and fresh food. 

The Sobeys Nutrition Corner is an amazing resource for Special Olympics athletes to build their healthy bodies and minds. Included in the resources are Sobeys Nutrition Breaks, which offer bite-size nutrition sessions for Special Olympics athletes, coaches, volunteers and families/caregivers. Created so they can be delivered anywhere and by anyone, the Sobeys Nutrition Breaks cover many topics – the updated Canada Food Guide, Healthy Eating on the Go, Hydration, Mindful Eating, Testing Your Nutrition Knowledge, and more!

Visit the Sobeys Nutrition Corner

Special Olympics BC athlete Arianna Phillips says her favourite healthy recipe is making butter chicken with bell peppers for added nutrition. One of the tips she has implemented from the Sobeys Nutrition Corner is using peppers as a flavour builder, as mentioned in the handout about fruits and vegetables.


About the Partnership

Since 2016, Empire Company Limited stores across Canada have raised and donated more $5.4 million in food and funds to Special Olympics. They continue to provide run their significant annual fundraising campaign while also providing year-round support through nutrition education, event sponsorships, and employment opportunities for athletes nationwide.

As part of their commitment to Special Olympics, Safeway and Thrifty Foods believe in the abilities of people with intellectual disabilities to achieve their dreams and to make a meaningful impact where they work, live, and play. Safeway and Thrifty Foods’ partnership with Special Olympics includes support through fundraising initiatives, sponsoring National and Provincial Games, and donating gift cards and food to support various activities across the country.

Safeway and Thrifty Foods are dedicated to helping Special Olympics athletes improve their health by providing healthy food and nutrition education, leading to both better performance and healthier lives. 

In addition, many Safeway and Thrifty Foods employees volunteer at Games and other Special Olympics events.

In B.C., funding from Safeway and Thrifty Foods goes directly to grassroots Special Olympics BC programs around the province, and also supports Provincial Games and a wide range of provincial programs, events, and development opportunities that benefit athletes and volunteers throughout the Special Olympics BC community.


Get Involved

Be part of Special Olympics BC’s empowering and eye-opening year-round sport programs and change lives, including your own!

Become an athlete 

Become a volunteer