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Funding Friday

by Evan Matthews | reporter@fitzhugh.ca

Robinsons Foods spread around $10,000 to celebrate their tenth year of supporting local non-profit groups.

The Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives, Jasper Curling Club, the Jasper High School Scholarship Fund, the Jasper Elementary Cross-Country Ski Program, the Jasper Seniors Society, the Glaciers Football Club, the Jasper Canada Day Committee, the Ecole Desrochers Playground Committee and the Jasper Skate Park Committee benefited from the program this year. Representatives gathered at the store last Friday.

“It’s really important for the Jasper Seniors to get out and about (and) new school playground equipment is never a bad investment,” says Diana Laarz, a Robinsons co-owner.

Being a part of a local family, Laarz says she sees the need to support all age groups and positive activities, both in the cultural and recreational realms.

Head coach of the Jasper Glaciers Football Club Chuck Mackinnon says without the local business support, the team wouldn’t be possible. With an annual average operating budget in the range of $10,000 to $13,000, Robinsons donation to the club is a big help, he says.

“Robinsons have been with us since day one. They are a tremendous supporter,” says Mackinnon.

“We don’t get a cent from the school or the government. All funding comes from Jasper’s small business community. I sent a letter to 10 groups, and 10 cheques show up. It’s remarkable, honestly,” he says, also thanking his other nine sponsors.

Half the team’s operating budget is spent on travel. Donations such as Robinsons’ allow Mackinnon to have one of the lowest cost to each individual player in Western Canada, at just $50, he says.

The donation is special, because somewhere in the Robinsons’ organization, a “football person” thought the Glaciers were deserving, according to Mackinnon.

“We don’t believe it should be expensive, and I’m committed to keeping it that way,” says Mackinnon. “There is no compare to this game, and no matter what type of child it is — small, lanky and shy, or big, round and loud — we have a place for everyone on our team.”

Robinsons accepts applications all year long from non-profit clubs and organizations based in Jasper, and on Dec. 31 each year staff goes through the applications and filters out forms that have nothing to do with Jasper, according to Laarz.

“Then we filter the applications by how many people will benefit from the donation and opportunities created by it.”

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