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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact the Front Room 24/7 – 365 days a year .