Orange you glad you gave a Buck?

Thrifty Foods launches fundraiser for Island hospitals

Thrifty Foods President Jim Dores at the Thrifty Foods Admirals Walk location made an announcement that a dollar would be donated to the Victoria Hospital Foundation for every four-pound bag of certified organic Buck Brand Navel Oranges sold.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Now, an orange a day can boast a more tangible connection to health.

Organic orange farmers Lisle and Mary Lou Babcock choked up at a fundraiser launch event at Thrifty Foods on Admirals Road, Wednesday morning.

“We come from a simple background,” said Lisle, who will tour 20 grocery outlets over 10 days. “We are so blessed by this event … This is not something we’ve ever expected to grow into.”

Thirteen Hospital Foundations across Vancouver Island – including Campbell River’s – and the Lower Mainland will benefit from their oranges purchased at Thrifty Foods.

“The awareness (of the partnership) is such a huge benefit,” said Melanie McKenzie, executive director of the Victoria Hospital Foundation. “When (Thrifty Foods) does their pumpkin campaign, they raise $30,000 for us, so our hope with this campaign would be more than that; $60,000 or more would be great. We still need heart monitors at the bedside, so this is going to do an awful lot for patient care.”

One dollar from the sale of each four-pound bag of Buck Brand Naval Oranges will be donated to the foundation nearest the store of purchase.

The California farming couple’s connection to the grocery chain dates back to the mid 1990s.  At that time, Thrifty’s took a risk supporting the Babcocks when nobody else would, said Mary Lou. Unlike mainstream orange growers, the Babcocks product was unsprayed, unwaxed, and picked fully ripe for full flavour. Thrifty took a a chance, she said, while slicing up various varieties for sampling. “The risk (was) to invest in us, and then it may not work. It might mildew or it might mould.”

Instead, the product was a hit.

“Buck Brand oranges is such a big brand for Thrifty Foods,” said president Jim Dores. “We always want to get out in the community, and do what’s right for the community, and it just seems like such a natural fit.”

The One Buck at a Time campaign runs until March 13. Thrifty Foods has supported hospital foundations since opening in 1977.

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