Champion donates $32,000 to local groups

Champion Petfoods President Frank Burdzy and Morinville Festival Chair Paul Smith rock out for a cheque presentation photo Monday afternoon. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – Two community groups were the recipients of $32,000 in sponsorship monies from Champion Petfoods Monday. The local manufacturer donated $20,000 to the Morinville Festival Society and $12,000 to the Orijen Sabretooths, a basketball club formerly known as the Morinville Road Runners. The donations are part of Champions’ ongoing commitment to support local initiatives.

]Making better festivals

Champion’s donation to the Morinville Festival Society is the second year the company has assisted the non-profit-society fund its festivals. This year’s donation will help the volunteer organization run the annual St. Jean Baptiste Festival in late June and the annual Roctober and Food and Jam Festivals in October.

“We know this is a great place to raise families and for people to work and people to play,” said Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy, adding the donation helps his employees and their families as well. “We’d like to give them the opportunity to participate in their own community. This is a good way to do it.”

Morinville Festival Society Chair Paul Smith said he was pleased to receive the sponsorship once again. “I’m absolutely elated because this helps us with our stability,” Smith said, adding Champion’s commitment helps ensure his society can continue doing festivals.

champion sabretooths

Champion Petfoods President Frank Burdzy plays a little one-on-one with basketball coach Serge Froment for a cheque presentation photo Monday afternoon. – Stephen Dafoe Photo

More basketball funding

Champion has once again supported youth basketball in Morinville with a $12,000 donation to the program. The team changed their name last year from the Morinville Road Runners to the Morinville Orijen Sabretooths after receiving a substantial sponsorship from Champion.

Basketball coach Serge Froment said the funding helps fund tournaments, an annual team party, send players to provincials and helps to keeps costs low. “It allows every one of our players to play at the lowest [cost] of any community around,” Froment said. “We’re still under $300.” Froment went on to say Champion has been supportive above and beyond their annual financial donation. “Every time I turn around they are helping us and soon we’ll have a real nice surprise for everyone in the basketball community in Morinville. Champion was a big part of that as well. Froment would not elaborate on what that surprise might be.

For Burdzy, funding a Championship basketball group made sense on a number of levels. “Champion loves to deal with champions and the Orijen Sabretooths are definitely champions in our eyes,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership for us.”

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