Over the past couple of years, volunteers and staff with Food Bank on Wheels have been on a mission to deliver food hampers to single-parent families and households of individuals living with disabilities.
Now, they’re getting some financial help from SurreyCares to hire a part-time driver for the group’s charity van, and also buy food for additional hampers destined for Surrey-area clients.
The $7,279 grant is the latest announced by SurreyCares Community Foundation, tasked with distributing the federal government’s $350-million Emergency Community Support Fund to local organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Based in Port Coquitlam, Food Bank on Wheels launched its home-delivery service in the summer of 2018 as a way to help people who aren’t able to visit food banks, due to illness, disability or transportation issues.
“COVID-19 has reaffirmed the need for this type of urgent service,” James Silcox, director and vice-president of Food Bank on Wheels, said in a SurreyCares news release Friday (March 19).
“We have clients that are isolated due to health reasons who need this service even more,” Silcox added. “Delivery provides them a safe way to receive help. Also for families or individuals with underlying health conditions, going to a food bank environment and taking public transit to get to food banks during the pandemic is a major health risk.”
The Emergency Community Support Fund is being delivered through a national partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross.
Recent Surrey-area beneficiaries of the fund include Surrey’s SOS Children’s Village BC ($26,608 to, to support foster children and youth during the pandemic) and Young Life ($3,250, to develop a COVID-safe space for teens “to come and have breakfast, receive homework help and community support from staff and volunteers”).
“We’re appreciative to the Government of Canada for this much-needed boost benefitting local charities,” said John Lawson, chair of SurreyCares, which has been active in the area for 27 years.
Donations “to support the most vulnerable populations in Surrey” are welcomed via the Surrey Community Relief Fund, the goal of which is to raise $500,000.
Food Bank on Wheels’ website is at foodbankonwheels.org, or call 604-457-3663.