To applaud his track record of supporting the South Surrey/White Rock community, five Semiahmoo Peninsula Rotary clubs presented Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones with the Paul Harris Fellowship award Thursday morning.
Jones, who got his start by bagging groceries in his hometown, Cranbrook, eventually became assistant manager at the White Rock Save-On-Foods in the early ’90s.
“You get to White Rock South Surrey, you learn pretty quick that there are nice places… then there’s White Rock South Surrey,” Jones told Peace Arch News Wednesday, adding that his family bought a home in South Surrey not long after moving here.
Aside from providing small community groups – such as Girl Guides – a safe place to raise money, the local Save-On-Foods store has supported more than 10 community charitable causes in the South Surrey/White Rock area.
Although some fundraising goals are less ambitious than others, Jones said all projects Save-On-Foods supports in the Semiahmoo Peninsula are significant.
“They are such great causes, you’d hate trying to name them all. Each are so important to that particular group, that particular organization. I’m very proud to work for an organization that understands the importance of local and understands the importance of community. That’s not as common as you might think,” Jones said.
On a personal note, Jones said the BC Children’s Hospital and supporting local food banks are two of the most important charitable causes for him and his family.
“The future of our communities and the future of our country relies on young people. They need a fair start. There’s nothing that makes you feel better than being able to help young sick kids, it’s the right thing to do,” said Jones, who’s on the board of directors for the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Jones’ wife, Elizabeth, sits on the board of directors for Sources Foundation.
“We’re there to support the food bank, not just in White Rock South Surrey, but throughout British Columbia. People in need, that’s very important to us,” he said.
During the award presentation Thursday morning, Save-On-Foods and the Semiahmoo Peninsula Rotary clubs presented Sources Food Bank with a $27,000 cheque. The money was collected through the Rotary Save-On-Foods food-card program, an initiative started by Semiahmoo Rotary member John Block and his family.
“Unbelievable what John and his family do, this whole initiative is just fantastic,” Jones said. “We’re so proud to be associated with John, his family and the things they want to do for the less fortunate in our community.”
The food-card program raised more than $64,000 in its first year. To raise the money, Save-On-Foods sold local Rotary clubs gift cards at an eight per cent discount. The eight per cent difference was donated to Sources, and then matched by the Block family.
Save-On-Foods has agreed to continue with the program this year. The structure will remain the same, however Block and family were able to find nine South Surrey/White Rock organizations – including Rotary – to each contribute one per cent of sales. The initiative will be able to donate 17 per cent of all food card sales to the food bank.