From left: Surrey firefighters Aaron Cyr, Dylan Van Rooyen and Dan Kehler show off a tiny taste of the massive amount of food the department’s charitable society hands out. This year, the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society reached a big milestone: It raised $1 million for its charitable initiatives.

VIDEO: Surrey firefighters reach $1 million milestone in giving

For the first time in a single year, the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society raised - and gave out - more than $1 million

‘Tis the season of giving, but for Surrey firefighters, charity is a sentiment held all year round.

And 2018 has proven to be a milestone year for the charitable society, which handed out more than $1 million for the first time.

Those dollars made their way to more than 70 organizations in this city from the YMCA to the Surrey Food Bank to its nutritional snack program that gives out $200,000 of food annually.

“We’ve just recently reached that $1 million,” said Dylan Van Rooyen, a board member of the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society. “We were always hovering around the $900,000, or $950,000 (per year). We’re now at that million dollars. In addition we have three capital campaigns ongoing where we’ve decided we would support building a new YMCA in Surrey at $350K, the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation, that’s doing some significant work, at half a million.

“So we’re very proud to report that each and every year we continue to raise more money, and increase the amount of giving.”

Rooyen, who has been a firefighter for nearly a decade, said as first responders, they see “first-hand what the need is in Surrey.”

“Back in 1994, when the founding members decided to organize the charitable society, they decided we need to do more: There’s more we can do aside form just going to the calls, responding and returning back to the hall. We wanted to find a way that we could give back and make a positive impact from young children to our most senior residents,” he remarked.

Firefighter Dan Kehler has been part of the charity’s Nutritional Snack Program for the past 21 years of its existence.

“It started with four schools, and now we’re up to in excess of 130 schools, providing breakfast, snack and lunch items for kids who come with little or nothing,” Kehler told the Now-Leader. “A child who’s focused on hunger isn’t focused on learning so if we can offer that child something to eat so they can focus on reading, writing and arithmetic rather than the hollow feeling in their stomach, than that’s’ what we’re going to do. We’re going to give them a fighting chance, because every kid deserves an opportunity to excel in school.”

This year, $200,000 of food purchased and delivered to Surrey schools.

Just last week, off-duty members met at the Costco in Newton to purchase $25,000 of food for hungry children.

See also: VIDEO: 20 years later, Surrey firefighters’ Nutritional Snack Program needed more than ever

“This program matters so much, not just to me, but so many of our firefighters. To know that children, now, can have a little something to eat, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or a snack during the day, to get through and have a better chance at learning matter a lot to us,” said Kehler.

In addition to that initiative, the society also assists members of the community that have been affected by trauma; raises money for medical health care and research; provides bursaries for community service; and delivers programs that offer “positive life experiences and enhance self-esteem.”

In the last month alone, the society has spent $25,000 on its nutritional snack program, matched $1,000 in donations to Children’s Hospice and spent $6,000 adopting 18 families for Christmas. That’s all in addition to handing out donations to the Burn Fund ($20,000), Muscular Dystrophy Canada ($15,000), and the Surrey Christmas Bureau ($5,000).

Aaron Cyr said the department’s charitable efforts are so top of mind within the department that it even comes up during the interview process.

“In our interview, we’re asking what charitable contribution and what lifestyle they have that contributes to charity, because that’s such a big part of who we are,” said Cyr, who is also a board member of the charitable society. “It’s so much of who we are that we have a payroll deduction plan where over 95 per cent of our members donate to our charitable society in the sum of over $100,000 a year. So we’re practicing what we preach and the money comes out of our pockets to go into our charitable society as well because we believe in what we’re doing.”

Cyr has been involved with the charitable society since day one on the job 11 years ago.

“It’s a great way for every individual in the department to feel proud of what we do and make a different impact, beside just going to calls,” he noted. “We make huge partnerships with people in the city that see the work we do with the charitable society. So they hop on, they encourage us, and also fund a lot of our programs because they see we do a lot of good work.”

To learn more about the society, visit surreyfirefighters.com/charitablesociety.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The RCMP helicopter. (File photo)
Suspect escapes after police pursuit through Surrey, Langley, Abbotsford

Police chase involved two stolen vehicles, including one taken in Mission

IIO Chief Civilian Director Ron MacDonald. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Police watchdog concludes Mounties didn’t shoot Fleetwood teen at strip mall

IIO finds tragic death of teenager ‘not the result of any actions or inactions’ by the Surrey RCMP

Emergency crews shut down White Rock’s Five Corners district on Feb. 19, 2020 after an altercation left an elderly man in critical condition. (File photo)
Trial dates set in White Rock manslaughter case

Proceedings against Ross Banner, 71, set for June 2021 in Surrey Provincial Court

Fraser Health Overdose Alert.
Fraser Health issues Overdose Alert for Surrey

Health authority reports spike of overdoses in the last 24 hours

The many faces of Daon Glasgow. (Photos: Surrey RCMP)
Glasgow found not guilty of trying to murder transit cop in Surrey

Transit Police Constable Josh Harms was shot Jan. 30, 2019 at Scott Road SkyTrain Station

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A B.C. man decided to create a website to help people find family doctors accepting patients. Because Victoria is considered high-demand, clinic openings can’t be posted publicly. (Unsplash)
Vancouver Island man starts website that connects B.C. residents with doctors

Nanaimo man started project to help people find family physicians accepting patients

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read