White Rock Rotary Club president Mauricio Browne de Paula (front right) with other club and community volunteers at the launch of the free hot lunch program at the city parking lot at Russell Avenue and Johnston Road on May 21. (File photo)

White Rock Rotary Club president Mauricio Browne de Paula (front right) with other club and community volunteers at the launch of the free hot lunch program at the city parking lot at Russell Avenue and Johnston Road on May 21. (File photo)

Daily demand for White Rock Rotary, city lunch program surpasses 40

Recipients ‘are very good people… going through some tough times’

A lunch program that launched in May to supply hot midday meals for the homeless and others undergoing economic hardship during the pandemic has been expanded and extended, organizers say.

Rotary Club of White Rock’s Gordy Sangha said Thursday (Jan. 21) that generous donations – including two $10,000 boosts from the Werner and Helga Hoing Foundation – have enabled the city and Rotary to expand their ‘Feed My City’ collaboration from its initial four-days-per-week schedule, as well as continue to meet increasing daily demand.

“When we started it was 20, 25,” Sangha said. “Right now, they’re serving in excess of 40-odd lunches every day – close to 45.”

Set up in the gravel parking lot at the northeast corner of Johnston Road and Russell Avenue, in a temporary serving station built and donated by Premium Fencing, volunteers distribute packaged lunches between noon and 1 p.m. daily.

READ MORE: Serving station helps White Rock Rotary hot meal program

The meals come from Seriously Good Catering on Mondays and Tuesdays, from Red Rose Restaurant on Thursdays and Fridays, from Bamboo Restaurant on Saturdays and from Indian Flavours Restaurant on Sundays, Sangha said. On Wednesdays, Peace Portal Alliance Church distributes sandwiches; an effort that began several weeks prior to the lunch launch.

Participation from the businesses – who are providing the food at a $5-per-meal cost – has been critical, Sangha said.

“Without them, we would not have been successful.”

Fifty-four people were served a “fantastic” meal on Christmas Day, with food donated by Save-On Foods, Sangha added.

The program was not anticipated to be operating past December, he continued. It was started due to the shutdown of many faith-group-organized community lunches due to pandemic-related restrictions. “These people are in need and we cannot abandon them,” Sangha said.

The city has not put an end-date on use of the parking lot as a distribution site, he added, noting many council members have donated their own time and funds to the initiative. A report to the club shared with Peace Arch News notes fundraising efforts by club members Jack Rae and Raj Rajagopal raised more than $50,000 for the project over a six-month period.

Sangha added that even a grateful recipient has donated – twice.

“These are very good people,” Sangha said. “They’re just going through some tough times.”

One woman who has been attending the lunch program four to five times per week since the summer said it has helped her during what has been a difficult time financially. She also appreciates the community feel of it, as well as the opportunity to “get a bit of social time” with others who turn out.

“While we’re waiting for the food, people get to know each other. There’s a spectrum of people that come with different needs – everybody has a story,” she said.

As well, it’s not just drawing people from White Rock, “they’re coming from all over,” she said.

Those who attend do not feel judged, and nor should they be judged, she added.

“Most are there from a fixed-income background, or homeless. We all feel welcome and respected.”

Sangha said donations to help the program continue are always appreciated. Cheques payable to Rotary Club of White Rock may be dropped off during the lunch distribution hour – provided that COVID-19 protocols in place are respected – or mailed to Feed My City, c/o Rotary Club of White Rock, PO Box 75005, 15105 16 Ave., V4A 6G3. E-transfers may be sent to whiterocktreasurer2@gmail.com (using ‘Feed My City’ for the question and ‘whiterock’ for the answer).



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

food securityRotaryWhite Rock

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

Just Posted

In a letter to Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair and president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee Jan. 28, Delta Mayor George Harvie pitched the City of Delta become the lease holder of the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care building after it is vacated by the Delta Hospice Society. (The Canadian Press photo)
Delta Hospice Society must vacate premises by March 29: Fraser Health

The health authority served the society a notice of breach of lease on Feb. 25

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

St. John Ambulance is looking for financial support in its bid to install 1,000 publicly accessible AED devices throughout British Columbia. The stands which hold the defibrillator also contain naloxone and first aid kits. Cost to equip and install each stand is around $8,000. (stock photo)
St. John Ambulance aims to install 1,000 publicly accessible AEDs across B.C.

First of two defibrillators planned for Crescent Beach already in place

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
Mounties asking for help locating missing Lower Mainland 9-year-old

Judith Uwamahoro was last seen Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Most Read