Families staying at Jeneece Place will have one less thing to worry about during the holidays, as Greater Victoria Save-On-Foods locations have pitched in to fill the refrigerator and cupboards for the fifth year in a row.
Every year since 2014, the grocery chain has given $1,000 worth of food and $600 worth of gift cards to families at Jeneece Place.
Located on the grounds of the Victoria General Hospital, the Children’s Health Foundation owns and operates the facility, where children and their families can stay while receiving medical care in the region.
“The folks that have to leave their own homes and spend time here while their kids are being taken care of are already stressed out,” said Lionel Gjerde, store manager of the Fort and Foul Bay location.
“They’re not looking to go to any expensive restaurants, so that’s why we bring the food to them. The appreciation from everyone here makes it all worthwhile.”
Gjerde is one of eight store managers who take part in the annual tradition, including Dave Alexander (Sidney), George Clarke (University Heights), Jeff MacLeod (Westside Village), Paul Anacelto (Langford), Richard Sproul (Saanich), Ross Prendergast (Tillicum), and Roger Junker (Pandora).
The housing complex is named after Frankie Edroff, who went by the name Jeneece as a child. Edroff, diagnosed with a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis at only three years old, became known across Vancouver Island for his philanthropy as “Penny Girl” after he collected more than $1.5 million in pennies for Variety Children’s Charity.
Edroff had a vision to create the home near Victoria General Hospital, and alongside family, community and the Foundation, that vision became a reality.
“Seeing the generosity of these store managers means everything to the families that stay here,” said Veronica Carroll, CEO of Children’s Health Foundation of Vancouver Island. “They’re able to get more sleep, be close to their kids, and grab a coffee or tea on the go.”
with files from Christine van Reeuwyk