Churches offer food hampers for low income families at Thursday pickup event

Efforts support Langley School District Foundation’s Food for Thought programs

Several Langley churches have come to the rescue in order to feed hungry students — and their families — who will miss out on snack and breakfast programs now that classes are physically closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Langley School District Foundation, which facilitates programs such as Food for Thought, joined forces with the Village Church and Christian Life Assembly (CLA) to host a drive-by hamper pickup on Thursday, April 2.

Low income families were invited to stop by between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to pick up an array of food items in lieu of what some students would have received while in school.

Kaitlyn Korzan, ministry outreach organizer from The Village, said groceries, hot meals, and even gift cards for local supermarkets such as No Frills and Save-On Foods Walnut Grove were all donated by church members and even the stores themselves.

“Not everyone has access to resources, so this was a real collaboration of churches and businesses in the community,” Korzan said. “Knowing that students were returning from spring break, it’s been less than a week that the call went out.”

More than 57 families were scheduled to come by and pick up a hamper — coming at allotted times to make sure people followed social distancing rules.

Mandy Martens, missions assistant at CLA, said those who are unable to leave their homes will get the hamper delivered to their doorstep.

“We have 11 volunteers helping out — we had to keep numbers down to adhere to the small gathering rule,” she said.

Martens explained that gloved volunteers packaged bags of food and supplies and brought them outside for a well-worked out system to take place — making sure every person involved was safe from COVID-19 spread.

“They’ll drive through the back entrance and park by a table one at a time. Two volunteers will load their vehicle — they won’t even have to get out. And then they’ll drive drive forward where we talk about resources are needed and how they are doing before they leave out the other exit,” Martens said.

READ MORE: Langley School District assessing how to help students connect to class from home

Fresh produce, rice, pastas, soups, canned veggies, bread, snacks, granola bars, peanut butter, and even toiletries were included in the hampers.

CLA additionally offers a program called “Boxes of Love,” which will also supply $25 gift cards per week for eight weeks for each family

“Without lunch programs and the backpack program, we wondered what does this mean for students and people have been coming and asking what they can do to help,” Korzan said, adding that the hampers were only planned as a one time gesture, but did say there are hopes that service will happen again in the future.

Susan Cairns, executive director of the Langley School District Foundation, added that $50 gift cards for select supermarkets would be included in the hampers while eligible families would be able to receive a gift card to help pay for groceries on a weekly basis.

People can donate to the gift card initiative by visiting www.langleyschooldistrictfoundation.com and selecting the coronavirus crisis option.

Save-On-Foods launches $1 million campaign to feed kids

Save-On-Foods has committed $500,000 toward their $1 million fundraising goal aimed at giving kids easier access to school meal supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With an estimated one in five school-aged kids in Canada relying on school-based nutrition programs, schools and community groups throughout Western Canada are working with parents to ensure vulnerable kids get the support they need.

Over the last three years, by participating in The Grocery Foundation’s Toonies for Tummies program, Save-On-Foods and its customers have made donations which have enabled over 250,000 meals to kids at school made possible through programs delivered by Breakfast Club of Canada.

Now, customers can donate $2 or 500 More Rewards points at the till of any Save-On-Foods, PriceSmart Foods or Urban Fare locations store, and the company will match up to a total of $500,000.

Donations can be made in-store, or online through Breakfast Club of Canada, Backpack Buddies or I Can for Kids digital platforms.

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Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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