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Solving Challenges Together

                             Gay Lea Foods employees raise more than $88K for the Gay Lea Foundation during Co-op Week 2018


Co-op Week is an annual celebration of co-operatives and credit unions that urges Canadians to reflect on the important impact of the Canadian co-operative sector and celebrate the continuing contributions of co-operatives and credit unions at home and abroad. Officially celebrated in October, it was feted across Gay Lea Foods’ production facilities and Mississauga, Ontario-based head-office in late September this year with a variety of programs and activities designed to raise funds for the Gay Lea Foundation.

“The theme of this year’s national Co-op Week was Solving Challenges Together, which is, of course, at the heart of the co-operative business model,” says Gay Lea Foods President & CEO, Michael Barrett. “It’s also something we pride ourselves on at Gay Lea Foods as our members, directors and employees collaborate to raise funds for the Gay Lea Foundation during Co-op Week and throughout the year.”

The Gay Lea Foundation is Gay Lea Foods’ official registered charity devoted to supporting education, poverty relief and community well-being projects in Canada and around the world. Each year during the co-operative’s Co-op Week celebrations, employees take the lead to organize and participate in activities to fundraise for the charity—from silent auctions to tug-of-war and bake sales. Employees also demonstrate their community leadership with strong subscriptions to the voluntary employee payroll deduction program.

This year, employees raised more than $88,000 for the Foundation.

“I think part of what is so special about the Gay Lea Foundation is the connection our employees, members and directors feel when they know that by working together, we’re able to make a real difference in peoples’ lives,” says Gay Lea Foundation Chair, Rachel Caldara, who is also the co-operative’s Manager of Human Resources, Compensation and Benefits. “The Foundation gives us a forum to come together to impact real, positive change and that’s something I think is in the back of everyone’s minds as we celebrate during Co-op Week.”

True to its collaborative nature, the Gay Lea Foundation is governed by a 10-member Board of Directors comprised of Gay Lea Foods employees, members, delegates and directors. Since its creation in 2014, the Foundation has awarded grants to more than 20 registered Canadian charities doing important development work in Canada, Haiti, Central America, Asia and Africa.

Further fundraising activities are planned among the co-operative’s delegates and Directors in November and January, with all funds raised supplementing the annual $150,000 contribution from Gay Lea Foods itself.

“This is what co-operatives are all about,” says Barrett. “Yes, we are a business and yes, there are economic pursuits—but not without a holistic consideration of the world in which we live.”

 

About Co-op Week

Co-op Week is a unique Canadian celebration of co-operatives and credit unions held annually during the third week of October. Events hosted throughout the sector reflect on the contributions that co‐operatives and credit unions have made to the lives of Canadians and celebrate the continuing contributions of the sector both at home and abroad. Co‐op Week celebrations began in Canada in 1981 and went national in 1982 with the encouragement of the Co‐operative Union of Canada, a predecessor of Co‐operatives and Mutuals Canada. Learn more at http://canada.coop/en.

 

About the Gay Lea Foundation

The Gay Lea Foundation is the official registered charity and collaborative forum for Gay Lea Foods and its members, directors and employees to support families and communities in need. Since receiving charitable status in 2014, the Foundation has provided more than $685,000 in funding support for education, poverty relief and community well-being projects in Canada and around the world. The primary source of funding for the Foundation is an annual $150,000 contribution from Gay Lea Foods, which is supplemented by personal contributions from across the Gay Lea Foods family. Learn more at www.gaylea.com/foundation.


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