$40,000 donation takes bite out of snack-program costs

essie Lee Elementary students help carry some of the snacks regularly delivered by Surrey firefighters into the school.  - Sarah Massah photo
essie Lee Elementary students help carry some of the snacks regularly delivered by Surrey firefighters into the school.
— image credit: Sarah Massah photo

A program that works to ensure school children have nutritional snacks in the classroom has received a healthy boost.

Surrey firefighter Mark McRae said a $40,000 gift to his association's snack program from South Surrey resident Dave Balsor will go a long way towards feeding the need.

"Every year, (program costs) have gone up, because there's more schools, more kids," McRae said. "We could spend $200,000 on this program if we had it."

The snack program has been running for 14 years, and benefits about 100 schools throughout the Surrey district, including 16 high schools and eight alternate programs. Operating on a budget of $80,000-$90,000, the snacks are delivered three to five times a year, and fill the tummies of 1,500-2,000 children.

Balsor's much-needed donation is already in use and will support the Surrey Fire Fighters Association program for six months, McRae said.

"We keep getting stretched and stretched. For Dave to step onboard this year, was just so critical for the program."

Balsor, president of Ocean Park Developments Ltd., said Tuesday he learned of the program at the annual Mayor's Gala last September and was moved to support it.

"I was inspired by the firefighters and their dedication," he said. "(It) felt like a good program to become involved in."

Balsor said his intent was for the funds to cover costs of the program through the end of the current school year.


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