Rotarian Larry McGuinness gave the first $1,500 – of a total $2,500 in grocery gift cards – to the Aldergrove Food Bank for local families on April 21. (Pauline Buck/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Rotarian Larry McGuinness gave the first $1,500 – of a total $2,500 in grocery gift cards – to the Aldergrove Food Bank for local families on April 21. (Pauline Buck/Special to the Aldergrove Star)

Aldergrove Rotary pledges $2,500 in gift cards for food bank families

Aldergrove club choses to tackle local hunger with matching COVID grant from Rotary International

A local chapter of an international service organization – Aldergrove Rotary Club – with its 40 dedicated members, has continued to give amidst an ongoing pandemic.

On April 21, Aldergrove Food Bank received a considerable donation from the Rotarians – who dug deep into their own pockets to pledge a total of $2,500 in Save-On-Foods and Otter Co-op gift cards to tackle local hunger amidst COVID-19.

Member Larry McGuinness was the bearer of the good news, handing 60, $25 vouchers to food bank managers Mary van Zuuk and Tannis Percival.

Van Zuuk began distributing the vouchers that same day, she said, with amounts given in proportion to the family size of clients.

“We are definitely all in this together,” McGuinness said to van Zuuk.

The remaining $1,000 will become available to give within a few weeks.

THIS MONTH: Aldergrove Rotarians have found a way to feed Starfish students at home

The gifts were from a U.S. $5,000 emergency grant that was recently split between the four Rotary Clubs of Langley – from a Rotary International District 5050 special fund. 

The amount raised by each club was matched, for a COVID-related cause they felt most pressing in their community.

McGuinness said the club’s immediate concern was the financial fallout of the pandemic.

“Specifically, providers who found themselves immediately off work and in need of extra assistance, right away,” he explained.

Families, both new to food bank assistance and regulars, will be able to shop locally, in addition to groceries they receive weekly from the non-profit.

RELATED: Rotarians honour Langley’s essential workers with Canadian flags

“And we chose to support two locals supermarkets that do a lot for our Starfish Backpack Program,” McGuinness added. 

During the regular school year, the club provides 60 children from four Aldergrove schools weekly backpacks of food.

Retailers Save-On-Foods and Otter Co-op provide a discount for food purchased for the kids, allowing Rotarians’ fundraising to go further.

In a span of five years, Aldergrove Rotarians have provided 10,000 backpacks to Aldergrove students, who are known to share the meals with family.

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