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My Experience with the Surrey Food Bank

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Two years ago, I found myself facing a new challenge. I was applying to Simon Fraser University’s Business program; to say that it was competitive to receive admission would have been an understatement. One thing I realized was that I was lacking extra curricular activities.

I have never been much of an athlete, so the obvious route to take was volunteering.  If I were to dedicate my time and energy, I wanted to put it towards a good cause that would  make a difference in peoples’ lives. The light bulb moment hit me and I decided the good cause would be the Surrey Food Bank.

Surrey Food Bank in Whalley

After filling out my application and going through the volunteer registration process, I worked my first shift and it was quite the eye-opening experience. I was stationed on the food hamper distribution table and I was astonished by the sheer number of people that were lined up. It looked as if I was staring at a line for an amusement park ride. After about an hour into the shift, I noticed a woman a few heads down. I noticed this particular woman out of the large crowd because she was quietly crying.

Surrey Food Bank stores

Surrey Food Bank stores

As the line kept moving, curiosity had me looking at her ever so often. I assumed she was upset because of the circumstances she must be facing. The line continued and I noticed she had a young girl accompanying her… her daughter I assumed. Finally, it was her turn and as she walked up to me, I realized she was not crying because she was sad or upset but she was crying because she was relieved. The look on her face was all that I needed to understand that I had stumbled on something much more than just extra curricular credit. It was a moment of clarity for me.

Surrey Food Bank

She was relieved. Relieved that her daughter would have dinner that night and they could momentarily forget their worries about where their next meal would come from. Words were not needed for me to know this.  All it took was that look on her face.

From that point on, the cause I was volunteering for meant even more to me. Even though we live in what is arguably the best place in the world, there are still many who struggle just to put food on the table. In one four-hour shift, more than a hundred families receive aid from the Food Bank. Many of these families have young children, even infants, that look to the Surrey Food Bank for support. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to make a genuine and positive difference in an astounding number of lives. After each and every shift, I walked away with a satisfied feeling. I had made a person’s life just a little bit easier that day (a little corny, but true).

Perhaps the most significant surprise for me, and I’m sure others as well, was that the people that receive aid from the Food Bank are no different from “ordinary people.” Many may think of a stereotypical scruffy “hobo” when they think Food Bank, but the truth of the matter is that the large majority of the customers are people who are facing hard times. I was surprised to see neighbours, old classmates and even co-workers come through for help. However, given the weak economy and unforgiving job market, it should not have been a surprise. We are facing tough times and in this holiday season, we need to keep our less fortunate community members in mind.

Surrey Food Bank volunteers make a difference

The Surrey Food Bank accumulates the majority of its annual inventory and donations in the holiday season. However, the Food Bank is not immune to hardships. Earlier in the year, the Surrey Food Bank ran out of food to distribute and had to resort to buying inventory to ensure those that need aid would not go without.

Please help those in need these holidays and consider helping your local Food Banks. Canned food, cash donations and your time are always in high demand and are greatly appreciated. If you are lucky, you may even experience a moment of clarity like I did.

We Live Here We Give Here CharityResidents in Surrey generously donate more than $100 million to charities each year. At a time when Surrey is undergoing rapid growth, our city is strengthened by the work of charities whose efforts are local.Three Surrey charities have come together in a unique partnership with a common goal: encourage residents to make donations that support their community. Join the Surrey Food Bank, the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation and the Surrey Firefighters to promote local giving.
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Raised in Surrey and armed with a business degree from Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, Sukh is an aspiring entrepreneur. With a particular interest in technology startups, he connects our local businesses with the community.

Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Christine Mohr

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Christine Mohr, the CEO of Options Community Services.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My name is Christine Mohr. I have had my hands in social services work since I was 15 years old. For many years before joining the organization, I admired the can-do attitude of Options and how its services address the full gamut of what happens in people’s lives.

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? 

I am the CEO of Options Community Services. 

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? 

I am most proud of my family. Alongside my husband, we have raised two wonderful young people who both have careers in the helping fields. I am also proud to be working alongside the most amazing people at Options who bring their talents, gifts, passion, and everything that they do to support and build community. 

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? 

I know the impact that the inability to access affordable housing has on people’s sense of security and well-being. Every day, the Options staff see people struggling to find affordable, quality, safe housing where they can live and just be. Once people have the security of a safe home that they can afford, often other things also fall in place.

Learn more about the Women of Options and make a donation to this important cause by visiting the website: Women Of Options

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Suki Kooner

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Suki Kooner, Mobile Mortgage Specialist RBC Royal Bank Of Canada.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My name is Suki Kooner. I moved here from the UK 26 years ago. I completed my business Diploma. I also used to help in our family Fish & Chip shops. 

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? 

I am a Mobile Mortgage Specialist at RBC Royal Bank Of Canada.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? 

I tragically lost my husband when my two boys were only ages 10 and 12. The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child” became so much more meaningful. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends and family that emotionally supported not only myself but my boys. We modeled healthy and respectful relationships that taught my boys core values. How to become accountable, self-disciplined, and most importantly compassionate. My boys watched as I worked hard to keep us financially afloat. I started as a teller at RBC, and even though I struggled to find that work/home balance, I was able to work my way up to become a Mortgage Specialist. I feel humbled and very blessed, but so very proud that I was able to show my boys that no matter what life throws at you, with hard work and perseverance you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? 

Being part of (or supporting a cause like) Women of Options, allows me to give back and make a difference to other single parents. As a Mortgage Specialist, I find so much joy when my clients get approved, for essentially one of the biggest decisions they make – purchasing their own home. Knowing that I am part of the journey that allows these ladies to provide a safe environment for their loved ones is so gratifying, and reminds me of my ‘WHY’. Why I love my job. Working together with like-minded individuals towards one ultimate goal – to bring comfort, security, and a place they can call home. This is my opportunity to give back and show gratitude for all of the good fortunes that led me to where I am today. In a world full of so much Tragedy and daily struggles I would like to use my platform to shine some light into these women’s lives. Together with these 50 Super Amazing Powerful women and with the help of our community we can achieve our goal. 

What are your social media handles? 

Facebook

Twitter

What is your web address?

https://mortgage.rbc.com/suki.kooner

 

Learn more about the Women of Options and make a donation to this important cause by visiting the website: Women Of Options

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Caroline Scott

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Caroline Scott, VP of Operations at Vision 1 Steel Corporation.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? 

My name is Caroline Scott. I was born in Belgium and came to Canada at the age of 3 where my parents settled in Toronto. I moved to Vancouver in 1978 and then to Surrey in 1991. I took my BEd at UBC and spent 25 years teaching kindergarten and Grade 1. I went for my practicum at Queen Elizabeth School in New Westminster and stayed there for my entire teaching career. I retired from teaching in 2014 and in 2015 started working with my husband, Robert Dominick, as he pursued launching his new steel construction company in Canada. 

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? *

I am the VP of Vision 1 Steel Corporation.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? *

Obtaining my BEd as a single mom raising 4 young children.

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? *

I understand the struggles that many women have to go through in life and how much any form of help can mean to them. When my husband launched our company, Vision 1 Steel, his primary focus was to apply his 30-years of accreditation building many market housing developments, towards the non-market sector, by building high quality, yet extremely affordable, housing for the social and not-for-profit sector. I loved this concept and gladly joined him. 

Learn more about the Women of Options and make a donation to this important cause by visiting the website: Women Of Options

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Taylor Thoen

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Taylor Thoen, CEO of BTV-Business Television.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? *

My name is Taylor Thoen. I founded a television production company 22 years ago. Our TV show – BTV-Business Television is the longest-running business/investment show in Canadian history! We also produce TV commercials, digital marketing, and videos for publicly traded companies. 

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? *

I am the CEO of BTV-Business Television.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? *

Raising two amazing young men! Also bootstrapping a company to success. 

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? *

I feel very blessed and wanted to give back to the community.  Homelessness is a growing concern in this city.  Having interviewed thousands of successful CEOs I felt I may be able to influence some interest toward this initiative.  

What are your social media handles? *

LinkedIn

Twitter

What is your web address?

www.b-tv.com

Learn more about the Women of Options and make a donation to this important cause by visiting the website: Women Of Options

 

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Charity

The 50 Women of Options: Michelle Des Rosiers

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On February 17th, Options Community Services launched its first capital fundraising campaign to raise $1.5 million for affordable housing units. The money is currently being raised through a partnership with 50 local women, all of who have pledged to raise $25,000 each in support of this project. Surrey 604 is encouraging public support of this project by featuring each of the 50 Women of options. Today we introduce Michelle Des Rosiers, Senior Vice President, project Operation; Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing.

Tell us your name, a bit about who you are, and your background? *

My name is Michelle Des Rosiers. I was born and raised here in the Lower Mainland living most of my life in Port Moody. I now reside in Maple Ridge with my son, husband, and two dogs. My parents did not come from a place of privilege, so when they advanced in their careers and became financially established, it became a mission of theirs to ensure this did not impede me and my sibling’s understanding of the world at hand. For this I thank them. They taught me the meaning of working hard, the importance of acceptance and equality and more importantly the impact giving back can have on someone else. Now that I am a mother, I strive to provide my son the same understanding of the world. 

What is your job title/what company or organization are you with? *

I am the Senior Vice President of Project Operations for Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing Ltd. 

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? *

I am most proud of my involvement in the growth of Fifth Avenue over the last 11-years. It’s been such an honour to have the ability to input on the company’s future. 

Why did the Women of Options affordable housing campaign resonate with you? Why are you supporting this initiative? *

Our mission at Fifth Avenue is expressed in the simple phrase: Bringing People Home. While our primary business is selling homes, this motto extends into the company’s give-back initiatives. This includes supporting those at risk or most in need in the communities we serve. The Options’ affordable housing project is in perfect alignment with our mission of “Bringing People Home” and is also in our own backyard.

What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

What is your web address?

fifthave.ca

Learn more about the Women of Options and make a donation to this important cause by visiting the website: Women Of Options

 

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