Tuesday morning (Sept. 27) at the Costco store in Newton, more than $80,000 in granola bars, sesame snaps, fruit cups, juice boxes and other snacks were loaded into vehicles of off-duty firefighters for distribution to 113 schools in Surrey.
Over the past year, the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society’s program has delivered snacks to an estimated 5,000 vulnerable students in the Surrey school district.
“As schools are finding many more children hungry and in need of food in their midst, orders continue to increase, and the need for fresh food, dairy, protein components and breakfast foods have increased greatly,” Dylan Van Rooyen, vice-president of the SFFCS, told the Now-Leader.
The program was launched in 1997, and in 2020 the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Nutritional Snack Program Society was incorporated to carry on the work of the SFFCS.
The program needs close to $200,000 in funding each year, but costs are rising with inflation.
“The program costs are kept to a minimum and the only expense is for the food itself,” notes on a post on the program website (surreyfirefighters.com/snackprogram). “The Surrey Fire Department provides transportation and the labour is provided by firefighters and school administrators both of which keep this program running in an efficient manner. Volunteer firefighters (past and present) pick up the food from the grocery store and deliver it to the participating schools. School administrators hand out the food to those that are in need. There is absolutely no charge to the schools or to the students for the food.”
Meantime, Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society’s annual Ignite a Dream event raised close to $45,000 at KPU’s Tech Campus in Cloverdale on Saturday, Sept. 24. The cocktail social was fired up again to raise money for Surrey students in need of financial help. Tickets were $60 each, or 10 for $500.
“This year, we excitedly announced that Scotiabank would be joining us and committed to matching $15,000 in funds raised,” the SFFCS posted to Facebook. “Inspired by this announcement, the Surrey-based charity The Gary and Gail Grelish Foundation have come on board with a $30,000 donation.”