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Oil Country scores big as Oilers Foundation gifts over $2.8 million to community initiatives

by Oilers Entertainment Group / Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton, AB - The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) is proud to announce one of the strongest years on record, part of an amazing year of activity for the Oilers Foundation, culminating in a total donation amount of over $2.8 million to charities and minor hockey groups throughout Northern Alberta, an area affectionately dubbed Oil Country, for this past 2015-16 season.

The Oilers Foundation upholds the goal of helping eradicate social issues while finding long-term solutions to improve the community where we live, work and play.

"In keeping with our commitment to building strong and safe communities with a focus on education and health and wellness, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation stepped up again this year with an investment of $2.8 million dollars and $30 million since our inception in 2001," said Richard Wong, EOCF Board Chair. "Our goal is to make a significant difference for people and groups in Northern Alberta."

Highlighting this year's gifting, is the purchase of a brand new refrigerated truck, plus food, for Edmonton's Food Bank. The five-tonne refrigerated truck will hold up to nine pallets of food, with the capability to load approximately 8,000 lbs. of food to help support the city's most in need. The truck also affords Edmonton's Food Bank the opportunity to pick up more fresh product from its major distributors as well as frozen product, including donations from another EOCF initiative, the Rock N' Wrap It Up program which donates unused food from hockey games and events at Rogers Place.

The Oilers Foundation is proud to support Edmonton's Food Bank as this important pillar in our community already serves more than 21,000 people each month through its hamper programs, with 40 per cent of recipients, youth under 18. Additionally, 500,000 meals and snacks per month are served with the help of member agencies including, Hope Mission, Boyle Street Community Services and Bissell Centre, making this donation even more important for our community.

"Whenever anyone mentions the Oilers, most will automatically think: Hockey. However, at Edmonton's Food Bank, we think of COMMUNITY," said Marjorie Bencz, CM, Executive Director of Edmonton's Food Bank. "The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation have been integral in our efforts to support our community as they have been advocates of our work for many years. Support of the Food Bank includes food collections at past games, arena donations of food, appearances by past players, a yearly financial gift, and, most recently, an astounding donation of $185,074 to purchase a new truck and food. This is what COMMUNITY looks like."

While Edmonton's Food Bank was able to purchase a brand new refrigerated truck for deliveries in and around Edmonton which will change the lives of many of our community members and groups in need, the spirit of giving did not stop there.

Thanks to the support and generosity from Oilers hockey fans, partners, players and staff, the EOCF has been able to invest this funding into more than 170 community groups to help enrich the lives of those in Oil Country.

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation was fortunate to support many programs this year, including Pilgrims Hospice Society, Centre for Family Literacy, Edmonton John Howard Society, YMCA of Northern Alberta, Kids Help Phone, STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service Foundation), University of Alberta (Indigenous and Global Health Research Group), West 6 Schools, Canadian Red Cross and Bissell Centre, to name a few.

These groups perfectly complement the heart of the Oilers Foundation's mandate to support education and health and wellness and every bit of funding creates a long-lasting impact in our community.

"We are very grateful for the support provided by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. As we expand the space to our fully accredited daycare, the only free daycare in our city, it will allow us to increase the number of children in our care from 40 to 100. The generous grant provided by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation will be used for cribs, tables, chairs, art supplies, toys and other materials that provide comfort and foster a child's development," said Rob Fragoso, Director of Development at Bissell Centre.

"Up to 18,000 vulnerable children a year will be affected by this grant. We are humbled by the commitment the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation continually makes to strengthen our community, and especially for projects that benefit vulnerable children living in poverty."

The Oilers Foundation is dedicated to building strong, vibrant and safe communities by demonstrating philanthropic leadership and will continue its legacy of giving back as it prepares to move into its new home, Rogers Place. Since 2001, the Foundation has contributed over $30 million to more than 2,700 charities, community groups and minor hockey programs across Oil Country. For more information, visit OilersFoundation.ca.

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