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Lack Of Services For African Youth Immigrants In Surrey Addressed By Surrey Youth

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Big dreams. When you’re an immigrant moving to a new country in search of a better future, you pack those dreams into whatever suitcases you can reasonably take with you. You carry those dreams onto the airplane, and hope with all your might that the cards will fall in your favour, that saying farewell to everything you know will one day lead to the kind of life you wish to give yourself and your family. And when you land on new soil, you pray for a guardian angel to carry you into your new life.

Bienvenue Osee, a 22 year old immigrant from Democratic Republic of Congo, and his partners Blaise Kisembo and Baracka Mugisa, hope to fan some of those dreams and be that safe space for immigrants from their home continent.

Osee and his partners have a mission to help African youth integrate into their new Canadian home. Their notion of youth helping youth with this transition is fresh and hopeful – and a way of giving back for these young entrepreneurs. Noting that African immigrants and refugees are often members of low-income communities which leaves them vulnerable, marginalized and often disadvantaged, Osee and his partners want to do what they can to empower these individuals.

When Osee arrived in Canada as a 13 year old, French-speaking boy, there were many barriers he had to overcome to fit in and become a productive citizen of Surrey. Language was one. Understanding cultural norms, navigating transit, fitting into the school culture, making friends…these were all just the tip of the iceberg when it came to integration. It was difficult, but Osee was determined to see his family’s big dreams come to fruition. Now, he’d like to give his time to help others do the same.

“Many youth within this community segment are considered to be multi-barriered – not having the language, computer nor social skills coupled with the lack of Canadian work experience – to integrate smoothly into the mainstream Canadian society,” Osee explained. “These barriers ultimately prohibit immigrant and refugee youth from competing confidently for often scarce employment opportunities.” Being unable to compete in today’s job market leads to the perpetual cycle of poverty and vulnerability which Osee hopes to break with a new project.

The project addresses the lack of services and programs for African youth (ages 15-25) and would include: a space for new and recent immigrants to gather to have discussions about civic engagement, an area for learning computer skills, and volunteers who partner with youth to teach them about local culture and life skills like grocery shopping, using transit, preparing for job interviews, and applying for university. While some programs exist in Surrey for adults, Osee strongly believes that a society of youth helping youth gives this vulnerable age group a chance at connection.

Osee is hoping to partner with existing facilities like Surrey Parks & Recreation to offer discounted memberships for new immigrants. His project would also like to take youth to the Surrey Libraries and facilitate the process of getting a new library card.

What they are still looking for is a physical space, preferably in the City Central or Guildford area, where they can host a group of people who want to use computers, hold support groups and discussions and work with professionals on their computer skills and resumes. In addition, they are hoping that electronics stores or members of the public who have older computers would be willing to donate their used electronics.

While the focus is on African youth immigrants, the services would also be open to immigrants from other countries.

If you can help Osee and his partners further their initiative, or you are a recent or new immigrant youth to Surrey who could use some support, please contact Bienvenue Osee at bienvenue1@live.ca or 604-368-9228.

Taslim combines her love of writing and social change by telling the stories that build bridges among people. Her motivating forces are her 3 children and her INFJ personality. Taslim is a regular contributor to Huffington Post Canada and Yummy Mummy Club, and a columnist for Peace Arch News. She has romantic notions of travel writing across European countrysides and historic African towns but her heart belongs to Surrey, B.C. You can connect with Taslim on Twitter and Instagram @taslimjaffer.

Charity

Central City Brewers + Distillers, BC Lions & BC Seniors Living Association Donate Hand Sanitizer to Independent and Assisted Living Communities

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Central City Brewers + Distillers teams up with BC Lions and BC Seniors Living Association to donate hand sanitizer to independent and assisted living communities. (From left) BC Lions’ players Claudell Louis, team mascot Leo the Lion, Sukh Chungh and Peter Godber.

Central City to donate 200 mL of hand sanitizer for every sale of Red Racer Cruiser 8-pack Mixer

Surrey, B.C. – Central City Brewers + Distillers is teaming up with the BC Lions and BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) on a new COVID-19 campaign where they will donate 200 mL of hand sanitizer to independent and assisted living communities in B.C. for every sale of the new Red Racer Cruiser 8-pack Mixer.

Central City, which is known for its award-winning beer and spirits including the 2019 Canadian Beer of the Year with its Red Racer After Hours Pale Ale, began producing hand sanitizer back in April 2020, in support of Canadians especially COVID-19 front-line workers.

“We wanted to continue supporting our communities and front-line workers during these COVID-19 times and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with the BC Lions Football Club and BC Seniors Living Association on our new Red Racer Cruiser 8-pack Mixer campaign,” says Brendan Yep, Vice President of Sales at Central City Brewers + Distillers. “As community leaders, it is important for us to contribute and do our part, and this is one way we are giving back to the community.”

In April, Central City donated hand sanitizer to front-line workers, healthcare workers and first responders through the City of Surrey. Now in June and July, Central City will donate additional hand sanitizer to independent and assisted living communities in B.C. through this new Red Racer Cruiser 8-pack Mixer campaign.

“We’re proud to lend our support to help seniors living in independent and assisted living communities throughout B.C. by making hand sanitizer more assessible to them through this partnership with Central City Brewers + Distillers and the BC Seniors Living Association,” says George Chayka, BC Lions Football Club Vice President of Business Operations.

“We are very grateful for the initiative and support of Central City Brewers and Distillers and the BC Lions.” said BCSLA CEO Lee Coonfer. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors’ communities have been put under a tremendous amount of strain to acquire the appropriate PPE and sanitizing products in the appropriate quantities to keep their residents safe.

Seniors’ safety is our priority and through the selfless gestures from the community, the tireless work of our employees and acts of corporate social responsibility, we will be able to meet this challenge and get through this together.”

The Red Racer Cruiser 8-pack Mixer includes 500 mL cans of Pils, Hazy Dreamer Pale Ale, Dirty Blonde Ale and Lager, and will be available in private liquor stores throughout B.C. The Central City Hand Sanitizer is also available for purchase (3L and 1L bottles, and in bulk) at all Central City Liquor Store locations and at the brewery store (11411 Bridgeview Drive, Surrey).

About the BC Lions Football Club

The BC Lions Football Club is Vancouver’s and British Columbia’s most successful professional sports organization with six Grey Cup titles: 1964, 1985, 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2011. Drawing on pride, decades of tradition, passion and a spirit of excellence, the BC Lions Football Club seeks to touch the lives of our community in a positive way and is dedicated to serving partners, sponsors and fans. www.bclions.com

About BC Seniors Living Association:

BC Seniors Living Association is a voluntary, membership-driven organization dedicated to being a valuable source for member development, education and growth. The organization works to promote and protect the best interests of its members, which include the Independent and Assisted Living communities in BC. The cornerstones of BCSLA is based on actively advocating, educating, mediating and celebrating retirement communities and their residents. For more information, please visit our website: www.bcsla.ca/

Social Media: Twitter: @BCSeniorsLiving, | Facebook: BC Seniors Living Association

About Central City Brewers + Distillers:

Central City is a craft brewery and distillery in the business of developing, producing and selling international award-winning, premium craft beer and distilled spirits, made without compromise. Based in Surrey, British Columbia, CCBD won the 2019 Canadian Beer of the Year and was voted Canada’s Brewery of the Year in 2010 and 2012.

Their Red Racer brand has become a cult icon among craft beer enthusiasts throughout North America. Founded in 2003 as a brewpub and liquor store in downtown Surrey, it now also features a state-of-the-art brewery, distillery, warehouse and private liquor store on Bridgeview Drive. www.centralcitybrewing.com

Social media: Instagram: @CentralCityBrew | Twitter: @CentralCityBrew; | Facebook: @CentralCityBrewing

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SurreyCares Community Foundation Part of New Emergency Community Support Fund

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$900,000 available in Surrey for charities supporting COVID-19 response

SurreyCares Community Foundation announced it will be providing over $900,000 to support local charities responding to COVID-19 as part of a partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, funded through the Government of Canada’s $350M Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF).

This national effort aims to support vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19. SurreyCares is one of more than 100 local community foundations across Canada taking part.

“This is a vital step in the fight against COVID-19,” says John Lawson, Chair of SurreyCares. “It’s a difficult time for everyone, and we know that local charities and non-profit organizations have been working tirelessly to support those who are already marginalized in our community. This additional funding is a much-needed boost to their efforts. We’re looking forward to flowing funds quickly to ensure no one in our community is left behind.”

The Emergency Community Support Fund was initially announced on April 21, 2020, by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as part of a series of emergency response measures by the Government of Canada.

“Canadian charities and not for profits are always there to help you in your time of need. But the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing real challenges to these important organizations. With today’s announcement, the Government of Canada will be there for them so they can continue to be there for Canadians.” explained The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Starting on May 19, SurreyCares Community Foundation will begin accepting applications for funding from qualified local charities, not-for-profits and community organizations. Grants can be used for a variety of purposes, including staffing, resources, or purchasing supplies. Funding will be issued on an ongoing basis through July 2020. Charities and community organizations are invited to visit the foundation website for eligibility and application details.

“At Community Foundations of Canada, our purpose to ‘relentlessly pursue a future where everyone belongs’ has never felt more important than it does right now,” said Andrea Dicks, Community Foundations of Canada President. “We’re grateful for the leadership of local community foundations like SurreyCares who have been at the forefront of local response efforts since the pandemic was declared.

Thanks to the Government of Canada’s contribution, our network will be able to unlock even more local impact for organizations serving vulnerable groups, helping us set the stage for more inclusive, resilient and sustainable communities.”

SurreyCares’ vision for Surrey is a giving, connected community. SurreyCares’ mission is to inspire donors, grow endowments and invest in people.

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Sikh based groups form Virtual Vaisakhi to raise funds and give back during COVID-19 pandemic/Sikh Heritage Month

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As the world is faced with the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a collective of local Sikh based community organizations have come together to celebrate Sikh Heritage Month and Vaisakhi by giving back.

The collective, through Virtual Vaisakhi (fundraising efforts) and invoking the Spirit of Vaisakhi (volunteer initiatives) are raising funds and working with existing community outreach and non-profits within British Columbia to help ease the related economic hardships faced by the communities in which we live and work.

“Every year there are many Vaisakhi Nagar Kiran events that bring thousands of people together to collectively celebrate Sikhi,” noted Jessie Kaur Lehail of Kaur Project/Virtual Vaisakhi. This year, we are directly asking and inspiring Sikhs and non-Sikhs to collectively open their wallets and hearts to help invoke the Spirit of Vaiskahi to address the most pressing and emerging needs with organizations working with local food banks, seniors outreach, marginalized communities and domestic support services. Let’s celebrate Vaisakhi by helping others. We’re all in this together and 100% of proceeds will go directly to community initiatives.”

Currently the collective includes Kaur Project, One Voice Canada, SAF, Khalsa Aid, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, SAMHAA, SikhRi, Future is Partnership, Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, Gurdwara Sahib Sukh Sagar, SEYVA, S.A.L.M.O.N Project and many others. Guided by the Sikhi based value of Sarbat Da Bhala (service to all) while practicing Charhdi Kala (expansive resilience) and Joash (vibrant courage) and a spirit of giving, Virtual Vaisakhi is asking EVERYONE to invoke the Spirit of Vaisakhi to raise financial support.

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, the Virtual Vaisakhi campaign and Spirit of Vaisakhi operations will continue nimbly align philanthropic resources based on emerging needs, prioritizing food, medical and emergency assistance for seniors, marginalized and domestic support services. As needs are communicated, it will be of utmost importance for Virtual Vaisakhi/Spirit of Vaisakhi to provide funding to these organizations rapidly.

Virtual Vaisakhi Donate Online

We’re tapping into the strength of collective giving to alleviate the public health and economic consequences of the coronavirus in British Columbia. Virtual Vaisakhi has committed to contributing 100% of money raised to community initiatives. To donate, visit the Virtual Vaisakhi’s website www.virtualvaisakhi.com

Spirit of Vaisakhi Operations

With a little less than one week in combining efforts, the following initiatives are taking place:

  • Over 1500 daily meals are being served
  • 100+ grocery/prescription deliveries
  • Glove and mask coordination/delivery
  • Health care snack/meal delivery

To volunteer or request help visit www.virtualvaisakhi.com

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Happy Singh Eats & Tandoori Flame, Partner to Offer FREE Meals to Frontline Workers and Those in Need

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After spending just over a week and a half making deliveries of pre-packaged meals to frontline workers at Delta, Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General Hospitals, the team at Happy Singh Eats (with support from Tandoori Flame) realized that the community’s need is much greater than they realized. “We started at Delta Hospital, then to Surrey Memorial. After that the Surrey ER and Imaging Centre, VGH ER and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre all reached out looking for similar assistance.

We realized that the need stretched much greater than what we originally thought,” shared Shraey Gulati, Managing Director, Tandoori Flame Restaurants. “We have been blessed to be able to help others, and that itself is another blessing” As a team they have happily obliged to fulfill these requests and continue to do deliveries of hundreds of meals daily to all of these locations for the on-staff frontline workers, however they wanted to consider how they could do more. From that evolved Happy Singh’s Seva Kitchen.

As a subsidiary of Tandoori Flame Restaurants and given that they are not officially open yet, Happy Singh Eats is working with the kitchen team over at Tandoori Flame Delta, just across the road from them, to execute this initiative. Seva is a sanskrit word that means selfless service and is a prominent value within South Asian culture. Keeping that in mind, the answer seemed obvious. Gulati went on to explain that the sentiment of Seva is particularly important for their family ethos. “Our father always taught us to be the giver, whenever and wherever possible.”

Gulati’s father, Galendra Gulati recently returned to Canada from India and his first question when he heard about our hospital deliveries while in self-quarantine was, ‘What about those who are not at the hospital? What about those who have lost their jobs? What are we doing for them?’ He in turn got these thoughts from his father (Shraey’s grandfather), who used to say ‘You have what you have to pass it forward. Help those in need, spread love and kindness. We are JUST a medium.’”

Starting today, Happy Singh’s Seva Kitchen will operate from the take-out window located at Tandoori Flame’s Delta Location (11970 88 Ave, Delta, BC V4C 3C8). Any frontline workers can receive a free meal from their take-out window. They request that if you are in plain clothes that you provide an ID and if you are in uniform, then that’s easy.

They are also offering meals to those who simply cannot afford it right now. COVID19 is impacting our community in so many ways including lost jobs, reduced income, the inability to get groceries and more. If you are in need, we want to help. Free meals will be provided daily between 3pm and 7pm time on a first come, first served basis until meals run out. They do however hope to have enough to go through the entire day.

If however, you are unable to visit within that time frame, you are welcome to come anytime within the take-our hours of noon – 9pm. “We are starting with 3-7pm as we simply do not know what the demand will be like, but we won’t refuse anyone, as long as we have the resources to serve them,” shared Gulati.

When asked how long this program will run, Gulati said, “We don’t know the answer to that yet. We are going to continue for as long as we can and intend to keep our patrons updated via our website.” He also shared that those interested in supporting the initiative can donate meals to the program through their online takeout form at bit.ly/HappySinghDonate.

ABOUT HAPPY SINGH EATS | Happy Singh Eats, the newest restaurant endeavour by Tandoori Flame Restaurants, is slated to open in Summer 2020 with 160 seats inside and 72 outside on a covered patio. Akin to a South Asian version of fast casual dining, it is modelled after popular roadside cafés found all over India providing ready to eat snacks. The new cafe style restaurant will offer dine-in and take-out options with live cooking and over 10 food stations where guests can see popular street style snacks being prepared right in front of them. The menu will include items such as: kathi rolls, a chaat station, a Jr. Happy Singh box meal for kids; thali style meals, Paranthas, a samosa station, a dosa station, traditional curries, pizzas, sandwiches, and more. www.happysingheats.com

ABOUT TANDOORI FLAME | Established in 2009, Tandoori Flame is the largest grand Indian buffet and restaurant in North America. With up to 150 food options and live interactive food stations, the restaurant group now has three locations in Canada – Mississauga, Brampton (Toronto) and Surrey/Delta (British Columbia). www.tandooriflame.com

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Local One Billion Rising Events Create 1300 Care Packages for Women and Children

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To mark 2020’s, Worldwide One Billion Rising* campaign, the biggest mass action to end violence against women, social justice and faith based organizations came together to hold events in Vancouver and Surrey in February 2020. The main focus was to bring people together to create over 1300 care packages filled with personal hygiene necessities to help women and children across the Lower Mainland. Both gatherings brought an intersection of people and faiths interested in giving back and delving in deeper conversations to enrich their communities.

Elder Gertie Pierre, from the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society welcomed event participants with opening remarks and offered the sacred tradition of cedar brushing, that helped clear negative energy.

Both events had brief interactive question rounds where partnering organizations were highlighted, but also participants were encouraged to exchange ideas with others. At each event, Chas Coultee from the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society educated participants about Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls. Both the cities of Vancouver and Surrey honoured the events with the reading of official proclamations declaring February 1-7th UN World International Harmony Week, and the assembly of more than 1,300 hygiene packages.

*Every February, we rise – in countries across the world – to show our local communities and the world what one billion looks like and shine a light on the rampant impunity and injustice that survivors most often face. For more information on Background on One Billion Rising:

https://www.onebillionrising.org/about/campaign/one-billion-rising/

Care packages were created to support the following organizations:

  • Ama Transition House
  • Azure Place
  • Bill Reid Place
  • Charlford House
  • Cold Weather Shelters across the Lower Mainland
  • Dixon House
  • Durrant Transition House
  • Elizabeth Gurney House
  • Evergreen Transition House
  • Firth Residence
  • Fraserside Emergency Family Shelter
  • Hyland House
  • Jewish Family Services
  • Joy’s Place
  • Kenkinow Native Housing Society
  • Koomseh Housing
  • Maxxine Wright Place
  • Monarch Place
  • Nova House
  • Shimai Transition House
  • Springhouse Vancouver Women’s Shelter
  • Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter
  • Vi Fineday Family Shelter Society

This year’s community partners included, Centre For Israel And Jewish Affairs, Global Girl Power, Global Peace Alliance, Guru Nanak Foundation of Canada, Guru Nanak’s Free Kitchen, Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, Kaur Project, Mustang Justice, Sri Guru Singh Sabha Surrey, Surrey Interfaith Council , The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vancouver Interfaith Network, World Sikh Organization of Canada, Worldwide Shift Disturbers.

www.1brlm.com

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