Children Benefit From Gift of Music From Safeway Donation

Music is often considered to be one of the most basic human means of communication and expression. For the families of the Children's Centre Thunder Bay Down Syndrome Family Connections Group, access to music just got a bit easier. The family group was the recipient of a $2,581.00 donation through Safeway’s Employee Payroll Donation Campaign. This is an annual continuation for Children's Centre Foundation Thunder Bay.

“Our partnership with Safeway has spread over 10 years now,” comments Alana Bencharski, Children's Centre Foundation Coordinator. “In the last decade, Safeway and their employees have contributed over $38,000 towards a number of our mental health education initiatives, including Circle of Wellness and Youth Mental Health Leaders. Through the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation Campaign we have also been able to purchase a suicide prevention safety planning app, with Thunder Bay specific content”.

This year's contribution has been dedicated to the Down Syndrome Family Connections Group. Through an initiative by a member’s family and friends, a seed donation was made to give the families access to a 6-week music program.

“I was fortunate to have been invited to attend one of the music classes,” continues Bencharski. “The excitement in the children's eyes, the passion and engagement of the parents - words cannot describe the energy in the room. It was truly a wonderful experience”.

This recent donation will allow the program to expand, giving greater access to music therapy programming.

“For decades the company and employees from the six Northwestern Ontario Safeway stores have continued to generously donate thousands of dollars to help support critical children’s health programs and services in Northwestern Ontario. We are pleased that the $2,581.00 in contributions from the Safeway Employee Payroll Donation program will assist Children’s Centre Thunder Bay Down Syndrome Family Connections Group’s music program,” says Renée Hopfner, Sobeys Inc. Corporate Social Responsibility Director.

The Down Syndrome Family Connections Group meets monthly. For more information call 343-5000 or visit