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Firefighters raise over $600K to feed hungry kids in Delta

Inaugural Mayor’s Charity Ball on Saturday, May 4 benefited firefighters’ Healthy Snack Program
Delta firefighters Josh Clarke, Warren Balzer, Eric Wilson and Kristy Storey present a cheque for $35,000 from the Delta Firefighters Charitable Society in support of the Delta Firefighters Healthy Snack Program during the inaugural Mayor’s Charity Ball on May 4, 2024 at Cascades Casino Delta. The gala went on to raise more than $600,000. (James Smith/North Delta Reporter photo)

The inaugural Mayor’s Charity Ball raised more than $600,000 to help ensure local kids have access to healthy snacks at school so none of them go hungry during the day.

The sold-out event, organized by the Delta Firefighters Charitable Society and presented by Realco Properties, brought together businesses, community members and esteemed figures for an evening of elegance and goodwill at Cascades Casino Delta on Saturday, May 4.

MC’d by former Entertainment Tonight Canada host Erin Cebula, the night culminated in a mesmerizing performance by Juno-nominated singer Warren Dean Flandez featuring a band, choir and dancers.

The gala also featured speeches by guest of honour Mayor George Harvie and Delta Fire Chief Guy McKintuck, as well as promotional videos and presentations by firefighters highlighting the important work the charitable society is doing through its Healthy Snack Program.

The event served as a fundraiser for the program, which since launching in March of 2021 at six North Delta schools to address food security issues made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, has grown to support students at 39 elementary and secondary schools and special programs.

Each month, Delta firefighters provide schools with food to feed kids in need during the day so they have the nutrition needed to learn, grow and be healthy.

The snacks are available to students in a no-barrier setting, allowing them to grab something whenever they feel hungry.

The number of students using the program has increased sharply each year – rising from 900 in its second year (2021-2022) to 1,500 this school year.

Helping this ever-growing number of kids also comes with a growing financial burden, as annual costs have surged from $5,550 in 2021 to $94,500 for the current year. The program is entirely volunteer-run, and the bulk of its funding comes directly from Delta firefighters themselves via a payroll deduction program, wherein the department’s members donate money every paycheque to support charitable initiatives.

The money raised at this month’s gala “will significantly contribute to the Delta Firefighters Healthy Snack Program,” Delta Firefighters Association (AIFF Local 1763) president Mike McMillan said in a press release, adding the initiative “plays a vital role in ensuring a brighter future for our children.”

Warren Balzer, who helped start the program and serves as one of its co-ordinators, said in a press release that “proper nutrition is crucial for a child’s development, and with this support, we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of many children in our community.”

Mayor Harvie, in a press release, said the overwhelming support shown by the community on May 4 “truly highlights the generosity and compassion that define Delta.”

Delta Firefighters Charitable Society continues to accept donations in support of the Healthy Snack Program. One-time and monthly gifts can be made via debit and credit card or by PayPal at

— with files from Marla Poirier

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James Smith

About the Author: James Smith

James Smith is the founding editor of the North Delta Reporter.
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