Social Responsibility

We proudly serve our customers and our communities.

Sobeys, its franchisees, affiliates and employees come together from across Canada to contribute millions of dollars to hundreds of community organizations each year.

From grassroots initiatives to larger partnerships, we work with our local communities to make sure more Canadians—regardless of income, age or ability—have access to affordable, wholesome food; learn basic cooking skills; and receive nutrition education so they can reach their greatest potential.

Established in 2014, the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund supports access to, and the advancement of, better food through donations and partnerships with national and regional charities.

To learn more about the Better Food Fund and our partners, click here.

Here are just some of the ways we’ve made a difference.

Helping the Hungry

We extend the passion for food you see in our stores to the surrounding communities. Every year, we help feed the hungry by raising millions of dollars and donating millions of pounds of food. Here are some highlights from 2015.

  • Sobeys and IGA stores in Western Canada collected more than $457,156 for local food banks through their Time for Sharing campaign.
  • Thanks to the generosity of our customers and the efforts of our employees, Safeway stores raised $545,452 through the sale of $5 and $10 hampers during the 2015 Holiday Hamper Food Drive in support of local food banks across Western Canada.
  • Thrifty Foods’ Help End Hunger coupons raised more than $60,000 for Our Place Society, an organization that serves 1,500-plus meals a day in the Greater Victoria region to people living in poverty. As a major partner, Thrifty Foods also provided a refrigerated truck to serve vulnerable populations in the Greater Victoria region through its food recovery program.
  • During the November 2015 Fill the Food Bank, Fuel the Community campaign, Sobeys, Foodland, FastFuel, Needs, Shell, and Participating Co-ops joined together to help local food banks across Atlantic Canada. Together with customers, employees and suppliers, the group raised more than $541,000 in food and cash donations. Since the campaign began six years ago, more than $4.1 million has been raised across Atlantic Canada.
  • FreshCo has partnered with the Ontario Student Nutrition Program agencies to make affordable meals possible for schoolchildren across the province. As a result, students have access to more nutritious meals. Shoppers in the program use special ID cards to receive a 5 percent reduction off FreshCo’s already low prices.
  • Sobeys stores in the Greater Toronto Area have donated over 200,000 pounds of food and critical support to help North York Harvest Food Bank respond to the daily demands of their clients. In addition to gathering food donations and financial support, employees from our Toronto office installed a new racking system in their warehouse that accommodates an additional 100 pallets so they can better manage donations during the busy seasons.
Spreading the Word on the Importance of Nutrition Education

Learning how to cook is important, but understanding what we consume and the effects specific foods have on our minds and bodies is just as important. That’s why we invest in programs and initiatives that teach more of our neighbours about the importance of food knowledge.

  • Sobeys Québec and its merchants from the IGA, Les Marchés Tradition and Marché Bonichoix banners have created The Joy of Eating Better Foundation. Its mission is to help as many people as possible in Quebec and New Brunswick eat better in three ways: by promoting education on healthy eating, collecting food donations and distributing them to people in need, and encouraging people to cook more often.
  • Since 2008, in partnership with its customers and employees, Safeway has raised $7.8 million for Easter Seals Canada. In 2015, Safeway and local Easter Seals chapters teamed up to launch the Feeding Ability program, an initiative focused on educating children and families of all abilities in a fun and interactive way about nutrition, healthy food choices and cooking. Easter Seals campers received a copy of the Carabiner Cookbook, which contains important nutritional information and lots of delicious, healthy recipes to make at camp and at home.
  • Sobeys Inc. served as a corporate sponsor of the 2016 Night to Nurture Gala. The company sold tickets to the event and helped raise more $1.8 million for The Grocery Foundation in Ontario and Kids Help Phone.
  • The Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund has partnered with Special Olympics Canada. Thousands of Canadians with intellectual disabilities—from two-year-olds to senior citizens—as well as their families, caregivers and coaches will now have access to nutrition guides, cooking classes and fresh, accessible food through the hundreds of local Special Olympics programs across the country.
  • The Island Food Skills Initiative is a program offered to young people between the ages of eight and 17 in Charlottetown. In partnership with the Healthy Eating Alliance, the program provides children with the tools and knowledge they need to be able to prepare and plan healthy, economical meals. In addition to offering financial support for the initiative, Sobeys conducts store tours led by one of the company’s knowledgeable dietitians and holds cooking classes in the store’s community room.
Encouraging All Canadians to Get Cooking

Sobeys is committed to inspiring more Canadians to cook—whether that means learning new skills, trying different recipes or gaining more understanding of how to prepare simple, affordable meals.

  • The Thrifty Foods Young Chef camps, which focus on cooking, nutrition and food safety, provided more than $60,000 in subsidies to 17 local recreation centres so kids aged nine to 12 could participate in the program. Since 2008, the camp has been dedicated to providing children with interactive sessions that educate them about food choices and experiences.
  • Free The Children and the Sobeys Inc. Better Food Fund have teamed up to create Home Cook Heroes, a package of lesson plans designed to empower thousands of students across Canada to make healthy choices, and gain essential food and cooking skills. Students learn about what they consume and the impact it has on their bodies, prepare and make meals through the development of cooking skills, and direct their new-found nutrition literacy toward creating positive local and global change.
  • Since 2011, Safeway has been the title sponsor of the Surrey British Columbia Fusion Festival Cooking Stage. During the two-day July event, Safeway and its employees welcome local professional and celebrity chefs to the stage, where they eagerly share their recipes and cooking skills with attendees.
  • Dartmouth North Community Food Centre is a project of the Dartmouth Family Centre, which has been serving the community for more than 20 years. This new facility opened in Nova Scotia in 2015 in partnership with Community Food Centres Canada to bring people together to grow, cook, share and advocate for good food. Sobeys supported the development of the site by offering reduced rent for the space, architectural services, and tendering and project management of the construction. The centre offers a wide range of programs, including cooking workshops, meals, gardening education and peer support.
Responding to the Local Needs of the Communities We Serve

To “proudly serve our communities” is one of our core values. It represents our commitment to operating excellent stores that serve the needs of our customers, and reflects our culture of giving back to the neighbourhoods we operate in. Our ability to give back to the communities we serve is a direct result of our customers, who shop in our stores and look to us to satisfy their food needs.

  • Since 2011, Safeway stores and employees have supported CancerCare Manitoba’s Challenge for Life 20-kilometre walk, which raises funds and awareness for programs that provide critical support and primary care for people who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families. Employees assemble a team of volunteers to host breakfast, lunch and the first route check stop station. Safeway also donates fresh fruit and healthy snacks to fuel up the walkers. In five years, 363 employees have raised $368,000.
  • Thrifty Foods collected more than $38,000 for 12 local hospital foundations on Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland through the Pumpkins for Patients fundraiser in 2015. Thrifty Foods donated $1 for every pumpkin, pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup sold in-store.
  • For 20 years, the Lawtons Drugs Pro-Am Golf Tournament has raised funds for local charities in Atlantic Canada. Since the beginning of the tournament, more than $1.7 million has been donated to organizations such as Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.
  • In 2015, Sobeys Atlantic partnered with the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. As a regional sponsor, the company also held local fundraising campaigns and encouraged employees to participate. Last year alone, 339 employees participated in 11 events across Atlantic Canada, resulting in $80,589 raised for the fight against breast cancer.
Celebrating Canada’s Young Artists
  • Often drawing comparisons to Britain’s Turner Prize, the Sobey Art Award is Canada’s premier art award for contemporary young artists. Created in 2002 by the Sobey Art Foundation and with prize money totaling $100,000 annually ($50,000 to the winner, $10,000 to the other four finalists; and $500 to each of the remaining longlisted artist), the Sobey Art Award was created as a means to shine a spotlight on Canada’s emerging artists and the works they produce. Starting in 2016, the Sobey Art Award is organized and administered by the National Gallery of Canada.
  • Past winners include: Brian Jungen (2002), Jean-Pierre Gauthier (2004), Annie Pootoogook (2006), Michel de Broin (2007), Tim Lee (2008), David Altmejd (2009), Daniel Barrow (2010), Daniel Young and Christian Giroux (2011), Raphaëlle de Groot (2012), Duane Linklater (2013), Nadia Myre (2014) and Abbas Akhavan (2015).
  • For more information about the Sobey Art Award click here
Sobeys Charity Golf Classic 2020

Each year Sobeys Inc. gathers together more than 100 business partners in a round of golf in support of the charities we support across Canada. On May 19, we announced that the 2020 Sobeys Charity Golf Classic was cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic. It was a difficult decision but the right one given the realities that lay ahead over the next several months.

We’ll gather our business partners together again one day soon. But until then, we can’t forget about our charitable partners. They need us now more than ever. Although the tournament has been cancelled, we have invited businesses to make a financial pledge during these unprecedented times.

Once again generous business partners continue to step up for charities working hard on the frontlines to help our most vulnerable neighbours – groups like local food banks and meal programs, Special Olympics Canada, children’s hospitals and school nutrition programs. Funds raised through this year’s Sobeys Charity Golf Classic will also support community partners of the annual Lawtons Pro-Am such as the Children’s Wish Foundation, ALS, IWK Foundation, MS Society, Alzheimer’s Society just to name a few. With no overhead to hold an event, we can give back one hundred percent of the funds raised.

To learn more about our charitable partners and stay up to date on fundraising progress check us out at