Quality Foods president Noel Hayward, right, with Autism Award winners Julie Tempelton and Nathan Bodie. (Photo submitted)

BC Autism Awards launch with help from Quality Foods

Third annual ‘The Heroes in Our Story’ awards and raffle accepting nominations until Aug. 28

AutismBC has announced the launch of its 3rd Annual BC Autism Awards and raffle, accepting nominations until Aug. 28.

The awards, called The Heroes in Our Story, celebrate the “everyday autism heroes” who have had a positive impact on the autism community, whether through volunteering, inclusive hiring practices, self-advocating or championing opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Vancouver Island’s Quality Foods has stepped up again this year to support the awards by sponsoring the Regional Community Impact Award for Vancouver Island. The award goes to an individual, business, program or community group that has demonstrated a commitment to creating inclusive communities by championing opportunities for community members on the autism spectrum on Vancouver Island.

Quality Foods involvement started a few years ago through AutismBC volunteer, Grant Rigsby. When he retired from 35 years in the food business, he became a “Grandfather with a Cause”, inspired by his grandson with autism.

Quality Foods president Noel Hayward said: “Grant was the first salesperson to call on Quality Foods when we only had one little 7,000 square-foot store in Qualicum, about 38 years ago. When we heard Grant’s story, and about the positive progress and the challenges for children and families impacted by autism, we were motivated to find ways to support the families on Vancouver Island and other parts of B.C.”

Since then, Quality Foods has contributed more than $10,000 to AutismBC through various in-store fundraising initiatives, and by each year sponsoring the BC Autism Awards.

READ MORE: Quality Foods closes for Easter to thank grocery workers

Today in British Columbia there are more than 60,000 people on the autism spectrum; approximately 2,700 aged 18 and younger are on Vancouver Island. That means there are thousands of individuals and families who rely on services and support. AutismBC has been serving the autism community since 1975 and each year provides support to more than 6,000 individuals across the province.

“We are very grateful to our dedicated volunteer ambassador Grant Rigsby, and to Quality Foods for their ongoing support” says Julia Boyle, executive director of AutismBC. “Together their involvement has not only raised funds but helped spread the word about autism, diversity and inclusion. The awards sponsorship is a great boost, especially with the fundraising challenges we are facing with COVID-19. With $1,000 of their sponsorship going towards a project for the winner of that category, their support has an even greater impact on the Vancouver Island community.”

Running alongside the BC Autism Awards is the AutismBC raffle, raising funds to support autism initiatives throughout the province. The grand prize is a brand-new Nissan Kicks SV generously donated by Applewood Auto Group. The raffle is open until Oct. 25 with an early bird draw on Aug. 28. Raffle tickets are just $20 each and are available online.

To nominate your everyday autism hero in the BC Autism Awards, or to purchase an AutismBC raffle ticket visit www.autismbc.ca/awards or call 604-434-0880, ext. 102.

— NEWS Staff, submitted

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