Albertsons Companies Employee’s Daughter Develops Connection for MDA Summer Camp
As the second-largest grocery retailer in the country, Albertsons Companies and the Albertsons Companies Foundation, continue to show their passionate support of the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) across the country for over 20 years through in-store fundraising campaigns with their customers, partnering with Acosta Sales & Marketing to conduct cause marketing campaigns and special events. This includes their banners: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME Markets, Tom Thumb, Randalls Food Markets, United Supermarkets, Pavilions and Star Market and Carrs.
In the Houston area, Randalls Food Markets has supported MDA long before Dawne Proffitt started working there 31 years ago. “Our involvement goes back a long, long way, and my memories include everything from bowl-a-thons to volunteering at the local telethon and everything in between,” says Dawne, Randalls’ community relations manager. “We do a lot of meaningful community outreach, and it makes me so proud to work for an organization that does so much good — not only monetarily but that provides hands-on support and engagement as well,” shares Dawne.
Visiting MDA Summer Camp is one of Dawne’s favorite ways that she and her colleagues provide hands-on support. Over the years they’ve provided and handed out ice cream treats at snack time, led cooking classes, had their Pharmacy team on site to check-in and out camper’s medication and donated food and items for arts and crafts. In 2002, Dawne made it a family affair when she took her 11-year-old daughter, Kori, to MDA Summer Camp. That year, the Randalls team hosted a special tea party for campers. “I remember helping the girls put on dresses and hats, and applying makeup for them to get ready for the party. It was such a wonderful experience!” explains Kori, now age 25 and a sixth-grade math teacher in Katy, Texas.
Touched by that experience, Kori decided to serve as an MDA Summer Camp counselor the first year she was eligible in 2007. Since then, she has volunteered as a counselor, and now as a unit leader at nine camp sessions for Houston and Austin MDA clients. “For me and so many other counselors and unit leaders that keep coming back every summer, it’s a reality check of how blessed we are. We are able to do all those tiny little things we so often take for granted like turning over in bed, brushing your teeth, getting dressed by yourself. I think that’s a big reason why we all keep coming back — it’s about being part of something that makes a difference.”
Every year, Kori sees campers graduate, but this year was extra special as some of her very first campers graduated.
“These campers have taught me so much, and it’s been really special to learn through the years how important camp is to them,” Kori says. “My girl campers have shared with me that camp is a place where they don’t get made fun of and their friendships here are so profound — something that helps get them through the rest of the year. They bring letters and signs for all their friends they haven’t seen in a year.”
Kori shares that sometimes it takes a while for campers to break out of their shells, especially during their first time at camp. However, by the end of the week, they’ve become more comfortable and sociable in really special and unexpected ways, and many leave completely changed by their experience.
“Whether it’s watching them perform on their own or with their friends in a rap battle in the talent show, soar like a bird while zip lining, enjoying a dip in the pool, or finally conquer horseback riding, it’s amazing to see how these kids are living unlimited at MDA Summer Camp,” Kori says. “The first summer camp you work is always so eye-opening. I got to go to camp when I was younger and experienced so many things that I enjoyed and realized that I could do to help these special kids have fun at camp. The campers get to experience new and exciting things – many of which they never thought possible or in other situations would be too scared to even try. At MDA Summer Camp, the impossible becomes possible for one special week.”
It’s a similar story across all of MDA’s weeklong summer camps — offered at no charge to families. Made possible by supporters and partners like the Albertsons Companies, as well as volunteers like Kori who assume all camper care, including physical and emotional support, these camps give kids a life-changing experience in an environment without barriers and where anything is possible.
“It makes me so proud that Kori gives so selflessly and wants to spend the first week of her summer with the campers,” says Dawne. “We are so touched by the bravery of these kids and their families, and it’s just wonderful that Kori and I both share this love for these kids and MDA Summer Camp.”
Albertsons, LLC includes more than 1,000 stores and 12 distribution centers in 29 states and employs approximately 109,000 associates. Stores include: Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s, ACME Markets, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions and Star Market and Carrs.
Will you make a donation to help give kids with muscular dystrophy their “best week of the year” at MDA summer camp?