Thrifty Foods Fairfield general manager Jim Fuller, surrounded by store staff and members of a Island Prostate Centre walking group, presents a symbolic donation of nearly $16,000 to Centre executive director Leanne Kopp, during a ceremony Thursday. The money was raised in June through the sales of bell peppers and individuals donations at the store. Don Descoteau/Victoria News

Peppers pack a punch for prostate programs in Victoria

Thrifty Foods donation helps Island Prostate Centre help others

It’s amazing how simply buying bell peppers can help so many men.

Outside of their health value, the money collected at Greater Victoria Thrifty Foods stores through the sale of two-pound bags of assorted peppers in June will go a long way toward helping men and their families deal with prostate cancer.

With 50 cents donated from each bag sold, and individual donors chipping in more cash, Thrifty’s was able to present $15,726 to support organizations in a happy ceremony Thursday at the Fairfield Road location. Island Prostate Centre will receive nearly $14,000 of the total while the rest goes to Prostate Cancer Foundation BC.

“Events like this are really important; it’s really the philosophy of community supporting community,” said Leanne Kopp, the Centre’s executive director.

She pointed out that the Centre does not receive any government or health authority funding, so donations like this one are extremely important.

“To have Thrifty Foods do an event like this provides us with an opportunity to not only raise a lot of funds for our organization, which really helps support the programs and services we provide, but also helps to raise awareness of this disease that affects so many men,” Kopp said.

The centre offers nurse support, a twice a week cancer recovery exercise program, twice a month nutrition planning sessions and a monthly support group, all free to users and available without referrals.

“We are available to men and their families in any way they could possibly need us, when they’re going through treatment or after,” Kopp said.

Jim Fuller, general manager of the Fairfield Road Thrifty’s, sounded thrilled to be able to pass along the company’s donation. He was surrounded by staff members as well as members of a walking group organized through the Prostate Centre as the giant cheque was presented.

“It touches pretty well everybody, and the fact that we were able to do this for the whole month of June was awesome,” Fuller said. “We’ve all had people, friends of ours who have gone through this kind of thing.”

The Thrifty’s donation also goes toward Island Prostate Centre’s annual Country Grocer Men’s Health Day, set for Sept. 9 at Tillicum Centre. It includes free PSA testing for men, which saves people the $35 cost, which is not provincially funded. Even that amount can be a barrier for some men to get tested, Kopp said, so the day is an important one.

“Last year we tested close to 500 men and we caught 35 men (in varying stages of prostate cancer).”

Other medical services are offered on the day, such as blood pressure and blood-glucose testing, and chiropractic sessions. “It’s kind of like this one-stop shop for men who don’t want to go to their family doctor every year,” Kopp said.

To find out more about the Centre’s supports, visit islandprostatecentre.com, call 250-388-0214 or stop by their drop-in centre at 100-1900 Richmond Rd.

editor@vicnews.com

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