Publix Bowl-A-Thon Strikes it Big

By Delanie Ross / Special Olympics Florida

Each year, the Publix Bowl-A-Thon benefiting Special Olympics Florida is a huge success. From April through June, thousands of Publix associates take part in more than 50 events to support the athletes of Special Olympics Florida.

Associates form teams and show their enthusiasm by bowling in themed costumes. To heighten competition, awards are given to top fundraising districts and stores and to the team with the most spirit. The campaign raises awareness of our mission and much-needed funds to help the athletes we serve. This year, the campaign raised more than $592,000.

“Publix has been with Special Olympics Florida since our founding in 1972,” said Special Olympics Florida President and CEO Sherry Wheelock. “They are incredible champions for our movement, and the annual Bowl-A-Thon is a spectacular example of the company’s inspiring commitment to our athletes.” 

Many of those athletes, in fact, take part in the Bowl-A-Thon. This year, David Helseth was among them. 

David has been part of Special Olympics Florida for more than 20 years, competing in several sports, including paddleboard, softball, bocce, and track and field. An Athlete Leader from Indian River County, he recently won two gold medals at the State Summer Games in the 50-meter walk and the tennis ball throw. 

David is also a veteran Publix team member. He’s been with the company for an astonishing 36 years and currently works as a bagger. He says Publix has long recognized the value – and wisdom – in hiring people with disabilities. The company is a national leader in providing opportunities to David and other Special Olympics athletes. “Publix has always supported us and been willing to give us a chance to succeed,”  David said. “I’ve been with them my whole career because they know we can be high-quality employees.” 

Special Olympics Florida is proud to be associated with Publix Super Markets, a company that shares our values and is willing to play a leadership role in our communities. The long-standing support of Publix leadership, associates, and customers has allowed us to carry out our mission for over 50 years.