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7 Days of Kindness in Surrey: Goodwill and Giving

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Families, Community and Business Come Together to Help the Less Fortunate in Downtown Surrey.

Goodwill and giving has the ability to bring about positive change in communities. Surrey, one of western Canada’s fastest growing cities is a rising star. With it’s young and cultured population, unique political climate and strategic geographical location, Surrey is south of the Fraser river, a land which will in 10 years be BC’s largest city expected to grow in population by at least 250,000 in the next 3 decades.

This of course does not come without some growing pains. Murder, Crime and Homelessness have plagued the city over the last many years. From the Surrey 6 massacre to the brutal killing of hockey mom Julie Paskell, to recent stabbings of teenage boys in north and south Surrey. Every city has it’s problems as a result of growth, even Vancouver has it’s downtown Eastside but Surrey has one of it’s roughest blocks in the Whalley neighbourhood, steps away from the Gateway Skytrain station, around the corner from the BC Lions Football club headquarters, the Royal Canadian Legion, home field of the world famous Whalley little leaguers and an Olympic volunteer training centre now turned Chuck Bailey recreation centre are the slums of downtown Surrey. 135a Street, a one way street that attracts the homeless, a community of people with issues in mental health and addictions. The heart of the street belongs to the Front Room. A safe, welcoming, 24-hour, year-round resource centre, providing support and referrals to community members. The Front Room relies heavily on the generous donations and this Christmas, a group of like minded citizens from the community stepped up to the plate in a big way.

Local Realtor Manj Hans had an idea. He wanted to bring people from the community together to provide relief to those who need it the most this cold Christmas season. After a sleepless night of tossing and turning, he made several early morning phone calls, he knew he was on to something. On Wednesday, December 17th, Manjot Hans, along with Realtor Kam Rai, Aria Banquet and Convention Centre, Sabzi Mundi Supermarket and families teamed up to feed those that are less fortunate.

Inspired by an act of “seva” or “selfless service” this team fed over 120 hungry people, mostly which are homeless. What happened the next day was nothing short of a chain reaction. Manj’s phone rang and it was another local business in the area that wanted to get involved. Manj and gang were on to something. They served every night for the next 6 days making it 7 days of Kindness.

The goal, to help feed the hungry with nutritious meals while inspiring others families,community and business leaders to do their own 7 days of kindness. With the additional help from Sonu’s haircut, B and B Truss and Newton Pizza plus cash donations from the Purewal, Gill, Rattanpal and Kalirai families they prepared and served over 1000 meals. A feat worthy of blessings. While men and women cooked in the afternoon, young teens and volunteers packaged the meals and delivered them to the Front Room to be served by the rest of the team.

Dinner was served all with kindness and a smile. Now the problem of homelessness, mental health and addictions is not solved yet however a chain reaction has begun across the lower mainland with inspired citizens and organizations doing what they can this holiday season to give back to the less fortunate. How can we help these people get off the streets for good? Well, while politicians, community leaders and organizations figure that question out we’ll just let these inspired activists spreading goodwill and kindness in the spirit of seva go on making a difference in the lives of others. When I last heard from Manj Hans, he told me “We’re already planning our spring giving campaign, this feeling of making a difference, I really like it, we can do anything together”.

Now let’s engage all community service groups, volunteers, organizations, business, property developers, politicians, activists and RCMP to see how we can pool all our resources together to create a sustainable model for eradication of homelessness and mental health issues, The time is now…

The front room has free, 24-hour laundry and shower facilities, hygiene supplies, public phone access, coffee and daily meals through the Bread4Life Program. The Front Room Resource Centre also hosts vocational and educational workshops with topics such as Life Skills, Tenancy Rights, Addictions, Mental Health and Personal Health. They regularly welcome presentations from representatives of community agencies who are interested in offering group or individual support in the community.

Front Room Resource Centre Surrey BC
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If you are inspired by this act of service and want to make a difference the Front Room accepts new clothing, shoes, and hygiene supplies collected through community organizations and individuals. To find out how you can work together with the Front room, please contact their administration, at 604-589-8678 or by email at admin@keyssolutions.org. Contact the Front Room 24/7 – 365 days a year .

With a background in sales, security and real estate development, Sukh is a political strategist excelling in community organizing, fundraising and civic affairs. He enjoys performing and has appeared as a background performer in Hollywood productions. Sukh grew up on the tough streets of Dunoon, Scotland before moving to Canada at age 10 and brings a unique perspective to Surrey604. He speaks his mind, and believes social media can be a force for good. Sukh has been a control agent for President Obama’s Inaugural Celebration team in Washington DC and spoke on interfaith affairs at the White House. A member of the Surrey Board of Trade’s International Trade Team and Vancouver Board of Trade’s Company of Young Professionals, Sukh is also past President and current VP Public Relations of Surrey Civic Speechmeisters Toastmasters Club at City Hall and VP of the Multifaith Action Society of BC, an interfaith organization promoting grassroots diplomacy, cooperation and goodwill.

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Internationally awarded youth led Surrey based organization puts on successful online conference in-spite of COVID

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Pre-COVID Spark group photo

SPARK Foundation Canada has hosted their, first of many, fully virtual conference Leaders Today! SPARK foundation is a non-profit organization made up of 16-23 year old leaders empowering the next generation through in person, and online life education: workshops, camps and community programs. They also work towards accomplishing the United Nations sustainable development goals: Quality Education, Sustainable Cities & Communities, Climate Action and Peace Justice and Strong Institutions!

The live event took place on Sunday November 15, with guest speakers Anjali Dhaliwal and Abhay Sachal. The audience hailed from all over the lower mainland ranging from students as young as 13 to 21.

Sarah Cheng, Volunteer Engagement Lead & Srusti Subash, Marketing Lead along with the efforts of Rochelle Prasad, CEO/ Co-Founder of SPARK Foundation, have meticulously organised this conference for youth in High School and University. It centered around an idea to inspire youth to engage in their communities amidst the pandemic despite the restrictions imposed on traditional volunteering opportunities.

Anjali Dhaliwal, CEO of Youth Helping Youth, was the first speaker introducing the importance of personal branding. She spoke intimately of personal experiences that led to her growth and success encouraging the conference attendees to explore new things and find their passion.

Abhay Sachal, spoke about his journey to the Arctic that incited the urge to create an international organization advocating for climate justice where he became Co-Founder of Break The Divide. Through various activities connecting with their audience, both speakers were exceptional in delivering their thoughts and empowering those watching.

The conference ran for 2 and a half hours with a fun activity midway through where participants were placed in breakout sessions and given the prompt: if your team owned a cookie shop, what would they name it? This activity brought about a variety of responses developed from imaginative or analytical points of view.

When the audience was asked what they thought of the event, responses were overwhelmingly positive. Viewers spoke on how the conference impacted them where they’ve realised “Climate change has inequitable impacts on marginalized and minority communities. Leadership requires truly genuine passion for building a better community, nation, and world because we want to make everything better than how we found it.”

Aside from this conference, SPARK Foundation has provided youth across Canada volunteering opportunities through their General Ambassador Program which focuses on media and marketing, a skill set that has become extremely important to this generation.

SPARK Foundation has also contributed to their communities by organizing several Covid Relief Projects by delivering over 300 care packages of essential items to low income families and over 200 meals to essential workers in Surrey, BC.

For future events or more information visit www.sparkfoundation.ca

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Events

2020 Vancouver Queer Film Festival Shifts to Digital Platform

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Out On Screen Announces Interim Executive Director, Festival Dates, Gala Films, & Creative Design Tickets on Sale July 13 at queerfilmfestival.ca

(Vancouver, B.C.) – Out On Screen is proud to present a virtual Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF) this summer from Thursday, August 13 to Sunday, August 23, 2020. Announced today, VQFF and Out On Screen as a whole will be guided by the leadership of new Interim Executive Director, Brandon Yan. Brandon has served as Out On Screen’s Deputy Executive Director and was previously the Director of Education for Out In Schools.

“I am more than delighted to continue to be of service to Out On Screen and the communities I so deeply care about,” says Yan. “In times like these, the importance of art and storytelling is even more apparent. We must remain committed to being a platform to uplift and celebrate the LGBT2Q+ stories at the margins.”

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 32nd annual Vancouver Queer Film Festival has adapted to an online format in order to offer at-home audiences the best in independent queer cinema along with workshops, artist Q&As, panels, parties and – most importantly – the feeling of gathering with friends and kin.

Out On Screen is working hard to ensure this year’s Festival is accessible and safe for community members who are immunocompromised or part of another vulnerable sector. Tickets for VQFF 2020 will be available to the public on July 13 at www.queerfilmfestival.ca. Tickets range in price from $10 to $14 with a special COVID19 access pricing ranging from $2-$5.

Curated by Artistic Director, Anoushka Ratnarajah, the theme of this year’s Festival is “Still Here”. “VQFF is on this August, and will feature films and interdisciplinary programming from queer filmmakers and artists whose work shows the many ways we fight for the fullness of our lives, for what and who we love, and for our shared futures,” says Ratnarajah. “Our theme this year is ‘Still Here’, because our survival is an inevitable miracle. Nothing can stop us from taking root; we will always reach for the light and sky.”

Illuminating and celebrating LGBTQ2+ lives in all their dimensions and complexity, VQFF is Vancouver’s second largest film festival and the largest queer arts event in Western Canada. Welcoming its presenting sponsor RBC once again, this year’s Festival will open on August 13th with a soon to be announced Opening Gala film and a virtual celebration of our local queer community.

The Festival’s Centrepiece Gala film is Lingua Franca, an ambitious feature film that follows a trans Filipina migrant as she navigates being undocumented in a Trump-era America. The film is written, directed by and stars trans actress Isabel Sandoval, who will join audiences virtually to discuss the film in a digital Q&A.

VQFF will once again feature a variety of youth focused programming, including a Youth Gala screening of the inspirational documentary Changing The Game, which follows three boundary-breaking young trans athletes changing the face of sports in their communities and across the United States.

The Festival will continue to celebrate B.C.’s most standout emerging and established filmmakers with Festival favourite, The Coast is Queer – an evening dedicated to local talent. Finally, this year’s VQFF will close with the heartwarming queer Muslim romantic comedy, Breaking Fast, directed by Mike Mosallam.

The 2020 VQFF program will be available online at www.queerfilmfestival.ca on July 13, 2020.

For more information, please visit the following platforms:

Website: www.queerfilmfestival.ca
Instagram: www.instagram.com/queerfilmfest
Facebook: www.facebook.com/VancouverQFF
Twitter: www.twitter.com/queerfilmfest (#VQFF2020)

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Events

3 Way to Celebrate Father’s Day this weekend!

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OPTION 1

Why not crack a cold one & fire up the grill with dad, and serve up a feast with Stanley Park Brewing’s do-it-yourself BBQ Kit? They’ll prep all the ingredients and you’ll do all the cookin’. And they’ve partnered with Filson to add a little something to keep your dad’s beer cold on Father’s Day. Receive one insulated stainless-steel can cooler with your kit. *While supplies last.

Order your Father’s Day BBQ Kit here: https://stanleyparkbrewstore.com/products/fathers-day-bbq-kit-with-filson-gift. Kits are available for 2, 4, and 6 people. Depending on the size of kit, you will receive a mix of the following at different quantities: lemon and herb marinated chicken, 8oz steaks, burgers with all the fixings (6 person kit only), Sunsetter baked beans, child lime roasted corn, sweet potato salad, coleslaw, and homemade cornbread.

Finish off your order by adding on a 6-pack of your choice. Our recommended beer pairing would be Stanley Park Brewing’s new Waypoint Hazy Pale Ale!

Note: All orders must be placed by 3pm on Wednesday, June 17th. Packages are available for pick-up at Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant & Brewpub on Saturday, June 20th or Sunday, June 21st.

OPTION 2

Looking to take Dad out to celebrate? The Stanley Park Brewing Restaurant and Brewpub will be having a special dine-in only Father’s Day Feast Menu for $38 per person. You can also add a pint of flight of your choice for only $5.75 (happy hour pricing)! The menu includes: Pretzel with spicy mustard and Noble Pilsner beer cheese, half a pound of Chicken Wings, Halibut n Chips with coleslaw, and a Cheesecake by The Cheesecake Factory Bakery for dessert.

OPTION 3

Want to give Dad some TLC?

Filson and Fortknight Barbers, two Gastown staples, have teamed up to help you give dad a gift he’s going to love. We all need a little TLC as we re-enter the world after our little time-out and what better way than with a stylish professional haircut and a brand new Button up shirt. On top of that a very special gift from Stanley Park Brewing.

Here’s how it works:

01. Dad books a time for a haircut with Fortknight Barbers. Capacity is limited due to safety protocols, so please book this appointment first. Fortknight Barbers | 46 Alexander St | 604-620-7930

02. Call Filson to schedule a private shopping time either before or after your cut. They have set up the space in the back of the store just for private shopping and a sanitized fitting room will be reserved for you. Filson | 47 Water St |604-689-1836

03. Your shirt, along with any other purchases, will be steamed for sanitization and packaged along with your special gift of a 6-pack of Waypoint Hazy Pale Ale from Stanley Park Brewing. You can either take it with you from Filson, or they will deliver it to you at Fortknight once you’ve been all cleaned up.

This package is $140 including all taxes and is available for purchase through either the Filson or Fortknight Barbers locations. They will provide you with a certificate at time of purchase that will need to be presented at each establishment to redeem. While the Filson location will be open only for curbside pickup prior to Father’s Day, you can call ahead and pay for it and then they will hand you the certificate at the front door when you arrive, or they can mail it to you if you prefer.

This package is a great way to treat yourself, a friend, a dad or any guy you know that just needs a little pampering. Quantities are limited, so please order today.

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Events

The Punjabi Market Goes Virtual for its 50th Anniversary

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  • May 31st, 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Vancouver’s Punjabi Market
  • The Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective presents “PM50” on May 31st
  • “PM50” will be a virtual celebration, streamed on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram
  • The Punjabi Market Regeneration is a registered nonprofit organization that seeks to revitalize the Punjabi Market in Vancouver thus facilitating opportunities for cultural belonging and also economic success for business owners

Vancouver, B.C.​ – To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Punjabi Market, The ​Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective​ presents “PM50”, taking place virtually on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube on Sunday, May 31st, 2020. Hosted by Hockey Night in Punjabi’s Amrit Gill, the livestream will feature an interview with the Market’s first shop owner, Mr. Sucha Singh Claire, and performances by Shaan-e-Punjab, Nachiye, and Amarjeet and Baljit Singh.

The Punjabi Market runs along Main Street, from 49th to 51st, and is the oldest “Little India” in North America. In 1983, the Punjabi Market became home to the world’s first set of street signs written in Punjabi script outside of India. Michael Lee, MLA for Vancouver-Langara opined that “[the] Punjabi Market is an important part of the historical and cultural history of both the city of Vancouver and of my riding, Vancouver-Langara.

Since the first store opened in 1971, the Punjabi Market has been considered a place to support cultural identity as is demonstrated every year by the sheer number of upwards of 100,000 attendees at the annual Vaisakhi Parade through the Punjabi Market.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will include an online shopping portal that aims to support business owners with recovery following the economic impact of the pandemic. In addition, the celebration includes a piece of public art by PMRC Creative Director, Jag Nagra, that will be unveiled closer to the date of the celebration. The event is a collaboration between the Punjabi Market Regeneration Collective, South Asian Arts Society, Indian Summer Arts Society, 5X Festival, Daily Hive, Westcoast Foundation, and the City of Vancouver.

PM50 Details

Date: ​May 31st, 2020
Time: 7:10 – 7:40 PM
Location: Facebook, Instagram, Youtube

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City of Surrey to host virtual Canada Day Celebration

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Surrey, B.C. – The City of Surrey has announced Surrey Canada Day will be hosted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consideration for public health and safety. Presented by Coast Capital Savings, Virtual Surrey Canada Day will take place on July 1 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for the kid’s and senior’s segment, and regular programming from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., broadcasted on Facebook and YouTube Live.

“While the safety of our community is the top priority during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it doesn’t mean we can’t find a way to celebrate this great country of ours,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “Surrey will have its annual Canada Day celebration, but this year we will be coming together virtually.

Hosted by a true Canadian icon, Hayley Wickenheiser, and featuring nationally recognized musical artists from BC such as Colin James, Bif Naked and 54-40, Virtual Surrey Canada Day will be an opportunity to safely celebrate and show our national pride on Canada’s birthday.”

Hosted by four-time Olympic gold medalist, Hayley Wickenheiser, this year’s free family-friendly virtual event will feature a series of segments including, musical entertainment, virtual tours, indigenous and cultural acts, a “Family Hour” for kids and seniors, dance lessons, a rodeo tribute, and a virtual firework finale to end the night.

The livestream will feature musical performances by local Surrey artists and Canadian groups including Colin James, 54-40, Bif Naked, Toque, Said the Whale, and Madeline Merlo.

The broadcast will pay tribute to those affected by COVID-19 and honour the courageous local frontline health care workers and essential service providers. Additionally, Virtual Surrey Canada Day is working alongside corporate sponsors to raise $10,000 for the Surrey Food Bank to support the City’s vulnerable population.

“Although it will look a bit different this year, Coast Capital is delighted to support Virtual Surrey Canada Day.” said Maureen Young, Director, Community Leadership, Coast Capital Savings. “In this unique time, it is absolutely essential that we find innovative ways to continue to nurture a strong relationship with our friends, families and our wider community.

This virtual celebration offers us all a chance to come together in a new way to celebrate our diversity and our pride in our nation while still focusing on keeping everyone safe and healthy.”

The City recognizes the impact the current pandemic and physical distancing measures may have during the summer event season. Residents are encouraged to continue to connect with each other online to limit the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. The City of Surrey is working closely with the Fraser Health Authority, the BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Public Health Agency of Canada to monitor and to respond to the current COVID-19 situation.

This project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada.

For more information, visit surrey.ca/canadaday

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