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Franchises offer support to Fort McMurray residents

Michael Gazer, president of Heart to Home Meals, prepares food packages to be sent to Fort McMurrray. Photo courtesy Heart to Home Meals
Michael Gazer, president of Heart to Home Meals, prepares food packages to be sent to Fort McMurray.
Photo courtesy Heart to Home Meals

Destructive wildfires raging through Northeastern Alberta forced residents of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas to evacuate last week and Canadian franchises stepped up to help those affected.

Senior meal delivery franchise system Heart to Home Meals sent hundreds of prepared food packages to Alberta and food-service franchise system Subway Canada provided 2,400 meals per day to feed firefighters and relief workers.

“Our hearts go out to all residents and relief workers in Fort McMurray and the surrounding area,” says Kathleen Bell, director of national marketing at Subway Canada. “Our franchisees across the country are heartbroken and wanted to do something to help. In fact, Alberta franchisees Paul Sarlis and Mike Pilz personally drove trucks into the crisis zone.”

Restaurant franchisor Cara made a $50,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross’ Alberta Fires Appeal and all of its brands, including Kelsey’s, Harvey’s and Swiss Chalet, will collect further donations. Booster Juice franchises in Edmonton and surrounding areas are offering free smoothies and food to Fort McMurray residents until May 13 and each location has been turned into a drop-off centre for people to donate supplies.

Working with Edmonton Emergency Relief Services and the Government of Alberta’s Emergency Operations Centre, Boston Pizza has issued more than $400,000 worth of food vouchers, which are redeemable at all of its restaurants in the province. The vouchers have been distributed across evacuation centres in Edmonton and surrounding areas. Boston Pizza’s charity Future Prospects is also collecting donations at all Canadian locations and promises to match them up to $25,000.

Canadian retailer Giant Tiger has raised more than $100,000 to-date through customer donations and contributions from its head office.

“The support we have received from customers and store owners from across the country, as well as home office, is tremendous and we thank everyone for their generosity in this time of need,” said Thomas Haig, president of Giant Tiger. “It is our sincere hope that these contributions will help those affected by the wildfire both now and during their recovery.”

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