FreshCo owner/operator/franchisee Marnie Millership and her husband Bob (left) social distance with members of the Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary to hand out $2,500 in donations to the club’s food program for children in Williams Lake. Pictured from left are Bob and Marnie Millership and Daybreak Rotary members Bill Carruthers, Daybreak Rotary president Ken O’Brien, member Lorne Doerkson and Lori Macala, chair of the Starfish Pack program. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

New kid on the block: FreshCo makes ‘amazing’ donation to help feed hungry children in lakecity

Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary members thankful for Starfish Pack program support

They’re not even open yet and the owners of FreshCo are already giving back to those in need in Williams Lake.

Owner/operator/franchisee of the new FreshCo in Williams Lake, Marnie Millership and her husband Bob presented Daybreak Rotary members $2,500 in gift cards for their Starfish Pack program this week.

“It’s a huge donation and we are extremely excited about it,” said Lori Macala, chair of the food program. “Marnie made me cry when she phoned me to tell me. It will fill about three-and-a-half backpacks for students and their families for an entire school year – it’s an amazing donation.”

Read More: Williams Lake FreshCo eyes opening May 28

From October to June, members of Williams Lake Daybreak Rotary fill backpacks with breakfast, lunch and snack items for a needy student to share with their family to last the entire weekend. Currently the Starfish Pack program provides food packs for 30 children in the school district and has continued serving those in need through the COVID-19 pandemic, with Rotary members packing the bags and School District 27 delivering them to students at their homes.

Marnie said she made the unsolicited donation as a way to offer more support to those in need.

“We just wanted to be able to extend more help out into the community for children and families in need over the weekends.”

Rotary members on hand, such as Lorne Doerkson, Bill Carruthers and Ken O’Brien, thanked Marnie for the donation, and noted how nice the new store was looking just days before it’s set to open.

“It looks great in here,” said Doerkson.

“It’s a wonderful donation,” added Carruthers, noting all other Rotary events such as the big Rotary Used Book Sale and Stampede parade have been cancelled this year.

“What are we going to do this summer? Suddenly we have all this time on our hands,” Carruthers joked.

Doerkson said Rotary members have offered their services to help clean up the trails at Scout Island, which were flooded this spring.

Formerly a Safeway, renovations for the new FreshCo have been underway since the start of the pandemic.

Marnie said the construction and preparations overall have went well, except for a few delays.

She has also been focused on making sure they can get all the product needed the fill the shelves, such as high demand items like bathroom tissue, rice and cleaning supplies.

Read More: Starfish Pack program looking to fill backpacks for needy children in Williams Lake

Without being able to offer a job fair, Marnie said hiring of the more than 100 staff was all done over the phone.

“We were able to pick up a lot of really good people. We’ve been lucky.”

Marnie noted they are taking all precautions to keep their staff and customers safe as they open during the pandemic.

“We are following all recommendations outlined by the province. All social distancing protocols will be a top priority for us.”

FreshCo opens Thursday, May 28.

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