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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: Shelly Howard

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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 Shelly Howard, Partner development manager in the technology sector. 

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

My name is Shelly Howard. As someone who has always been interested in the power of innovation, I have spent my entire career working with some of the leading IT companies in North America. I have helped many customers and partners leverage technology to drive new and improved business outcomes in my sales and market development capacity.

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

I am a Business Development Manager in the Technology Sector. 

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

My greatest achievement is producing two amazing human beings. Both my children are now off away at university figuring out their path and creating their own life adventure.

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

When I first learned about Options Community Services, I was amazed at how many services the organization provided the Delta, Surrey and the Langley community.  I am passionate about helping children who are ageing out of government care and was inspired by the number of programs that Options have helped these kids transition out of care.  Finding affordable housing is one important step and currently it is difficult to come by in the Delta, Surrey, and Langley area.  This is why this affordable housing project is so incredibly important.  It addresses a huge gap in our community.

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The 50 Women of Options: Linda Hepner

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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 Linda Hepner, former mayor of Surrey.

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

My name is Linda Hepner. Now retired after a full career of representing Surrey as a manager with the city, a three-term city councillor and finally as the mayor, I am passionate about looking for ways to help and improve the lives of the people of Surrey. 

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

I am the former mayor of Surrey, BC.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

Honorary Firefighter recognized for decades of support; Chair of city’s 2010 Olympic celebrations that resulted in Award for most family-focussed city; individual housing plan that saw long-standing 135A tent city dismantled and all occupants housed over 72 hours.  

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

There are many families in Surrey living at or below the poverty line and there’s a great need for affordable housing. There are more children in Surrey than anywhere else in the province, and many vulnerable families—particularly new immigrants—who require the services Options provides more critically.

 

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The 50 Women of Options: Luisa Hough

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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 Luisa Hough, Mortgage Professional, and Partner at Verico Xeva Mortgage.

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

My name is Luisa Hough, Since 2004, I  have worked as a Mortgage Professional, helping people with their mortgages and getting them into their homes as well as working with them on their financial goals. I am the co-founder of Xeva Mortgage where our focus is to inspire, lead, guide and achieve and make a positive impact on people’s lives.

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

I am a Mortage Professional and Partner at Verico Xeva Mortgage.

What achievements in your life are you most proud of?

I  have two big achievements in life that I am most proud of – first and foremost my family – my daughter who just finished her first year at University in Arizona and her personal achievement and commitment to school and sports is something I am most proud of. My Son whose sole focus is school and hockey with great ambitions of becoming an Orthodontist. My second most prideful achievement is what I have accomplished in my business – I never thought that 17 years ago I would be where I am today with my business. My dedication, commitment, values, and relationships I have built over the years has led me to helping hundreds of families achieve their financial goals and purchase their dream homes.  

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

As a young woman, I faced some challenges along with adversity and it’s important for me to support other women who need help as well. There’s no comparison for what these women are going through or have gone through and being part of a good organization that helps and provides people with the tools to move past their circumstances and thrive in their lives. Affordable housing is a necessity and it promotes diversity, creates jobs, builds communities and provides people with stability.

What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

Facebook

What is your web address?

www.xeva.ca

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The 50 Women of Options: Rebecca Darnell

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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 Rebecca Darnell, Lawyer at DLG Darnell Law Group.

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

My name is Rebecca Darnell. Before attending law school, I honed my skills in banking, as a court recorder/transcriber, and as a freelance paralegal at several law firms. This exposed me to a wide variety of practice areas including complex commercial litigation, corporate, commercial, family law, personal injury, estates, and real estate transactions. Immediately on being called to the bar, I set out to chart my own course. Recognizing a need for experienced family lawyers in the Fraser Valley community, I opened my own law firm and was able to draw upon my extensive background and training. I am certified by the Law Society of BC as a Family Mediator and Arbitrator and am committed to alternative dispute resolution.

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

I am a lawyer at DLG Darnell Law Group.

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

The relationships that I have built over the last 25 years with clients and the community. I am proud of being able to assist those in extraordinary experiences. 

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

I watched my mother die in poverty and recognize the need for affordable housing in the community. In addition, my work in family law has shown me how many women are trapped in unhealthy or abusive relationships because they don’t have the economic means to leave. Having a home validates you and makes you feel like you belong. I believe when you belong in a community then you’re better able to succeed. And when you’re successful the community is also successful.

 What are your social media handles? *

Instagram

What is your web address?

https://dlglangley.com/

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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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