As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the Surrey Fire Fighters’ Charitable Society has come up with a new way to fund its long-running program for students.
The society’s latest venture is a 50/50 fundraiser for the month to help fund its Nutritional Snack Program, which feeds students across the Surrey school district.
Dylan Van Rooyen, charitable society board director, said the program usually needs about $200,000 in funding each year.
In its 23 years, he said, the snack program has “steadily grown” from a handful of schools to “well over 110 schools, probably closer to 125.”
When the program launched, Van Rooyen said teachers were saying it was difficult for students to learn if they didn’t have the nutrition to be engaged and active and some saw a “disconnect” from the students.
Van Rooyen said that “every school is a little bit different,” but it costs about $3,000 for each school. However, some schools have a “very large order.”
He added that “there isn’t a specific area in the city that this program isn’t being utilized … it’s spread all around.”
Normally, the firefighters go into the schools when they drop off the food, but due to COVID-19, the program has gone “contactless,” Van Rooyen said.
“We don’t get to interact,” explained. “Usually they go into the school and see the kids, see their smiles.”
Van Rooyen said that as the students go through the school system, students have reached out to the society to say how much the program helped them over the years.
“It’s near and dear to us.”
With an overall goal of $100,000 for the 50/50 raffle, the society’s portion would cover about 25 per cent of what’s needed for the program, Van Rooyen said.
But he added the society has a donor lined up who is looking at making a $100,000-contribution.
From there, Van Rooyen said the society would raise the remaining 25 per cent through other initiatives and member contributions.
The raffle launched Oct. 1, and within a week a little more than $9,000 had been raised so far.
To purchase 50/50 tickets, visit darelle.com/pp/brqryr. The winning ticket will be drawn Oct. 31 at 1 p.m.