May 16, 2020
Local Hero Kyle MacGillivray
Kyle MacGillivray wasn’t looking for accolades when he decided to open his supermarket an hour early on Monday and Friday mornings, to accommodate local seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic. He certainly didn’t expect to see himself on the national evening news. The owner of Kyle’s No Frills in Kitimat just wanted to help people in the community, any way he could.
Kyle and his staff were already heavily involved in food bank drives. An event in early March raised thousands of dollars in cash for the Kitimat Food Bank Society, with other donations filling at least ten large shopping carts. But the No Frills team figured they could do even more.
Offering a special 8AM shopping hour reserved for seniors—in a clean and stress-free environment–seemed like pretty simple idea. “I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it, to be honest,” says Kyle. “I was hearing stories about seniors at risk when shopping because of the virus.” Within days, he and his staff had launched the seniors’ hour concept.
“It seems to have caught on,” Kyle says.
Has it ever. Kyle announced the initiative via Facebook in mid-March. Thousands of people—including Alberta premier Jason Kenney–shared the post.
Then reporters started calling; Kyle did a half dozen interviews. And before long, other groceries and businesses across Canada were offering their own special seniors’ hours.
The media frenzy has subsided, but the Kyle’s No Frills seniors’ happy hour endures. As does Kyle’s free food delivery service, to people in need.
If that weren’t enough, Kyle also bought more than $13,000 worth of Girl Guides cookies, after the COVID-19 situation made it impossible for the local Girl Guides unit to sell their treats door-to-door. “It’s their cookie-selling season, so I wrote the Guides a cheque and bought ’em all,” says Kyle. “We sold them at cost at the store…about 230 cases.”