Volunteers help hand out backpacks to families during City Dream Centre’s Back to School backpack giveaway at Kwantlen Park Secondary School on Saturday (Aug. 24). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

City Dream Centres hands out 1,000 backpacks at back to school event in Surrey

This is the fifth year the charity is hosting the event in the city

Within 15 minutes of City Dream Centre’s annual backpack giveaway beginning, the lineup to register had filled up with hundreds of families.

While the lineup was long “right off the bat,” City Dream Centre president and founder Loretta Hibbs said it wasn’t uncommon.

“It depends… Sometimes they line up from 6:30 in the morning — even in the rain,” she said at the start of the event. “We’ve had windstorms. We’ve had pouring down rain, but today it actually looks like we’re going to have a decent day which I’m so happy about.”

This is the fifth year the charity has run its back-to-school event, which includes a backpack giveaway, produce bags, free haircuts and free clothing.

On Saturday, City Dream Centre was holding the back-to-school event in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford, with 2,000 backpacks between the three sites. There were 1,000 bags to giveaway in Surrey, Hibbs said.

“This year, we’re thinking we might get a little close to running out (in Surrey). But 1,000 kids will get a backpack for sure.”

According to City Dream Centre’s website, the event is to help families “who may be finding it challenging to provide all that their kids need for the new school year.”

Going back to school, Hibbs said, is a stressful time.

“It’s just a fun day to say, ‘Hey, we’re here to support you if you need anything.’ I think this relieves some of the pressure for the families that are working in poverty.”

Hibbs said the charity’s focus is on the marginalized community because “some people may feel invisible.” She said the aim is to “make them feel visible, that we see them and that we care and that we want to help them win.”

Over the years hosting the event, Hibbs said she’s noticed that families will come to it “cautiously.”

“They come and see what it’s like, and then they’ll run home and get other families to see what it’s like,” Hibbs said. “They bring a lot of families back and that, to me, shows that they’re really excited about this event and it means a lot to them.

“You can see the kids faces as they’re running around. They’re excited. There’s a lot of free stuff here for them… We’ve got a lot of stuff going on that it just lets them enjoy what we have in our community and kind of takes away whatever pressures they’re thinking of.”

“It’s amazing the need. I didn’t know the need was so big in our city. We live in an amazing country and to se the need in this families is quite heartbreaking, but at the same time we get to play a small part in helping these families,” she said.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between homelessness, addiction and poverty to self-sustainability, to empower people to be able to give back to their society.”

Throughout the year, City Dream Centre also has an adopt-a-school program with the Surrey School District, feeding programs, development program and city care dental – a mobile dental care unit. The charity also runs For the Love of Thrifting (106-19211 Fraser Hwy.), which helps to support its causes.

For more information on City Dream Centre, visit citydreamcentre.com.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

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

 

Rita Gush, 6, gets her hair cut during City Dream Centre’s Back to School backpack giveaway at Kwantlen Park Secondary School on Saturday (Aug. 24). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Just Posted

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Surrey boy living with congenital heart disease to speak at local Tedx event

Mason Vander Ploeg will be speaking on saving the oceans

Survey suggests 83 per cent of Surreyites ‘favour a referendum’ on policing transition

Survey was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights on behalf of the National Police Federation

Racist graffiti sparks Cloverdale man to renew calls for City to clean up street

Hate message the latest garbage dumped at the end of 176th Street

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

VIDEO: Giants winning streak now stands at 11

Team erased a 5-2 deficit by scoring every five minutes

Fiery collision involving truck closes Highway 1 at Three Valley Gap

Drivers should expect major delays and congestion; estimated time of re-opening is 2 p.m.

Most Read