Volunteers at Mount Olive Lutheran Church have a plan in the bag to help support a meal program for Surrey’s most vulnerable.
Patricia Mulvaney, liaison for the church and Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS), said starting next week, volunteers will run a weekly drive-thru collection effort in the South Surrey church’s 2350 148 St. parking lot, to gather donations of snack items for SUMS’ Brown Bag Meal Program.
The meal program provides bagged meals twice daily to the homeless and others needing support from SUMS, through a take-out window at the society’s Whalley office.
The by-registration program – for which there is no funding, Mulvaney noted – was implemented in response to COVID-19-related restrictions on gatherings that quashed the sit-down indoor meals.
The plan at Mount Olive, which has supported SUMS since it opened, is to offer the drive-thru donation opportunity from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Tuesday in June – and through July, if needed – starting June 2, while keeping an eye on provincial health orders and the needs at SUMS.
Mulvaney said Thursday (May 28) that she pitched the idea to her church council after thinking about how she could personally help and realizing she couldn’t be the only person who would like to.
“These are our neighbours,” she added, of those who access SUMS’ services.
The collection station will be Mulvaney’s SUV, and appropriate safety measures will be in place, she said.
Items sought include bundles of take-out containers, juice boxes, granola bars, pre-packaged cookies, ready-to-eat canned tuna and fresh fruit.
Those planning to donate are asked to avoid giving food items that are homemade, overly ripe or with a past-due date, as those cannot be distributed.
Mulvaney emphasized the initiative is simply a collection program, and not a call for help to assemble the bagged lunches. That work is done at SUMS.
Financial donations are also welcome, she noted, and may be done online at CanadaHelps.org (search ‘SUMS’ under charity), or by cheque payable to Surrey Urban Mission. The latter may be dropped off during the Tuesday collection drives, or mailed to SUMS at 10776 King George Blvd.