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Community comes together to ease food insecurity concerns for newcomers

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DIVERSEcity Newcomer Food Hamper program in Surrey launches with support from partner organizations

Food insecurity remains a significant concern during COVID-19. DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Food Hamper program, generously supported by several partner organizations in Surrey, is trying to help by distributing food hampers to low-income families in Surrey.

With $35,000 from the United Way’s Local Love Food Hub funding, DIVERSEcity’s Newcomer Food Hub is working in partnership with the Surrey Urban Farmers Market ordering produce from the market, paid for through the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Coupon Program). The fresh produce is then organized into hampers, along with additional food supplied from Sources Food Hub.

The hampers are then put together by DIVERSEcity staff and volunteers in partnership with Seeds of Change, working (physically distanced!) from their City of Surrey-sponsored location, the City Centre parkade. (Seeds of Change is supporting several food hubs across Surrey through United Way funding.)

Staff and volunteers came together Saturday, August 8, to sort, fill and distribute hampers. The group was happy but dedicated in their efforts, as they worked hard all morning, despite the rainy weather. Serious co-ordination was needed to ensure each hamper was filled correctly, including abiding by any food restrictions the clients may have.

Leo Ramirez, DIVERSEcity’s Community Kitchen Coordinator, who is organizing DIVERSEcity’s efforts, says, “I love that this is a group effort supporting the community. We are thankful to the many organizations, volunteers and staff that come together to make this work.”

One of those on the front lines was Surrey Urban Farmers Market market manager Anna Hall, who was also grateful to all the partners working together for this important initiative. She explained, “This food hub ensures that these families continue to get the fresh produce and food that they need every week.”

While most food hampers are delivered to families directly, some clients did stop by on Saturday to pick theirs up personally. Their smiling faces and gratitude were just another reminder of how important the team’s efforts were. The food hamper program launched July 25 and will continue to run for 10 to 12 weeks; about 50 hampers have already been sorted and distributed to low-income families, seniors and pregnant women.

“It’s been really valuable learning about how to build good partnerships in food access and food security work,” says Fiona Stevenson, manager of Volunteer & Community Programs, DIVERSEcity. “By partnering with Seeds of Change, we have access to the temporary site in the City Centre parkade each week, and we are also able to get additional items of recovered food from Sources Food Hub to add to all the hampers.

This support through the City of Surrey and Seeds of Change and Surrey Urban Farmers Market has been instrumental to venue, logistics, food access, permissions, staffing and more.” For more information, see www.dcrs.ca or contact kitchen@dcrs.ca.

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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The 50 Women of Options: Judy Higginbotham

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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 Judy Higginbotham, former Surrey City Councillor.

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

My name is Judy Higginbotham and I served as a City Councillor for 25 years. In addition, I taught for 10 years, worked in the media as a broadcaster, writer/editor for 5 years, and have been a retired volunteer where I work in many groups and supporting many projects. 

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

I am retired and an active volunteer, advocate, solution finder, mentor, coach, and motivator. 

What achievements in your life are you most proud of? 

Receiving a National Award for Crime Prevention from the Solicitor General in the early 1990s.

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

Options Community Services gets projects done and runs them well. They believe in helping people get back on their feet. 

What are your social media handles? 

Twitter

Facebook

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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The 50 Women of Options: Rosemary Wallace

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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 Rosemary Wallace, City Councillor, Langley & Local Artist. 

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

My name is Rosemary Wallace! My background is in my achievements, which I see as opportunities to connect to people, places, and the environment. I am the second oldest of a family of 12, a mother to 7, grandmother to 5. I have been engaged in the arts and community as far back as I can remember. I love nature and helping those to connect to it through arts and wellness. I have belonged to many organizations and currently a director of the Langley School District Foundation. 

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

I am the Langley City Councillor and a Langley City Local Artist.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

I am proud of a lot of achievements. The first being a mother and grandmother. Secondly, my service to Langley City as a City Councillor and once a Langley Township School Trustee. I have volunteered 3/4 of my life in East Vancouver where I grew up and in Langley where I moved to 25 years ago. I am proud of my commitment to the community in helping in the arts, culture, and coaching sports when my children were in school. I am also proud of piloting a small arts centre that afforded all ages to take part in programming. This included structuring a wide range of artists’ spaces and a gallery. I once owned a gallery for a short time “Freedom Arts Collective.” There are so many things to be proud of but connecting and supporting community and family is most rewarding. Volunteering at “Joe’s Back Door Soup Kitchen ” in Langley City for 15 years was very rewarding because of the friendship and understanding that I built while supporting the needs of those that struggled with loneliness and vulnerability. I am also proud to work alongside others in protecting the environment, especially youth.

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

It is a unique way to raise funds for affordable housing for individuals struggling to find housing. I love the idea of 50 women collectively coming together to help with such a worthy cause with the support of a well-organized campaign. I am supporting this initiative because there is a great need for affordable housing and there are too many barriers that get in the way of finding decent housing. Options is an organization that has and continues to help meet the diverse needs of individuals and families in so many valuable ways. There are so many stories of individual struggles that are so complex. It is important to listen, have compassion and do whatever possible to help. This is a way to help and in turn, maybe the success of this campaign could be carried out across other municipalities that are struggling to build affordable housing to meet the needs of so many individuals. 

What are your social media handles? 

Instagram

Facebook

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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The 50 Women of Options: Raj Arneja

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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 Raj Arneja, Author and Director of Corporate Engagement & Philanthropy at Nanak Foods. 

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

I am Raj Arneja. I love music, traveling, and meeting people. I recently published a memoir, depicting my journey to motherhood through adoption. My story is filled with resilience and inspiration as I traveled to find my unconditional loves of my life – my children. 

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

Director of Corporate Engagement & Philanthropy, Nanak Foods.

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

Becoming an Author of my book Love at First Sight, A Mother’s Journey to Adoption was my most gratifying achievement. Also, I am proud to have been part of some community projects locally and abroad. 

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

I believe that in order for any community to thrive, people need a decent place to live. These days, it’s getting more and more difficult to find affordable housing so it’s initiatives like the Options’ affordable housing project that allows people to secure housing and be part of a community.

What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

What is your website:

www.rajarneja.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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The 50 Women of Options: Louise McKnight

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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 Louise McKnight, Associate Broker, Team McKnight/Macdonald Realty, and former co-owner of Bay Realty.

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

My name is Louise McKnight and I have lived in the South Surrey/White Rock area for almost 35 years. I have raised my children here and feel so fortunate to call the Peninsula my home.

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

I am a Real Estate Agent with Macdonald Realty.

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

As a mom, I am most proud of raising beautiful children. Also, of supporting my community in many ways over the years that I have lived here.

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

Options support some of the most vulnerable in our community. Everyone needs a soft place to fall and Options provide that soft spot for many.

What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

Facebook

What is your website:

www.team-mcknight.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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The 50 Women of Options: Laura Ballance

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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 Laura Ballance, president of Laura Ballance Media Group (LBMG).

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

My name is Laura Ballance. I’m the President of Laura Ballance Media Group. We are a local PR, media, and advertising agency that works with great local businesses, national and international businesses. We are most known for our event work, and we are proud of our deep relationships with some of the best not-for-profit and charitable organizations in the province and country. 

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

I am the President of Laura Ballance Media Group (LBMG).

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

Professionally, our work on the 2010 Winter Olympics, the UN World Urban Forum, TOIFA, the PNE. I was honoured to receive the 40 under 40 awards as well as being a finalist for the Women of Distinction Award. I’m also very proud to donate $100,000 in time and money annually to not for profits and charities across our region and country.

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

I believe in giving back in the community where you have a direct connection, where you can use your time to advocate for change where required and have a more hands-on approach to gifting. I believe this campaign will move the bar in our region within the space.

What are your social media handles? *

Twitter 

Instagram

What is your website:

https://lbmg.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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