WHAT’S IN STORE: Langley businesses do much to help kids, fire victims

In this week’s business column, editor Roxanne Hooper spotlights efforts to help people in need.

To help students in need get back-to-school with the essential supplies, Staples has begun its supply drive.

Now in its 12th year, the back-to-school program has raised more than $12 million for children in need.

“The school supply drive is near and dear to our hearts,” said Mary Sagat, president of Staples Canada.

Until Sept. 12, customers can participate in the drive by adding a donation to their purchases made in store and online at Staples.ca.

“There is nothing more important than having the right tools, and we are proud to help millions of young people start their school year on the right track with the supplies they need to be successful,” she said.

The campaign is managed by local Staples stores, with funds raised supporting a local community organization, such as Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, United Way, Salvation Army and Breakfast Club of Canada.

Annually, Staples customers donate more that $1.5 million to local non-profits through the Staples school supply drive.

Here in Langley, donations are distributed through the Gateway of Hope and Langley School District Foundation, explained store manager Ranj Sehdev.

“The partnerships that we have with these organizations are so important in supporting children in Langley who can’t afford school supplies,” he said. “Going back-to-school with the right supplies helps instill confidence and puts young people on the right track for success.”

This year, Staples has partnered with pop superstar Lady Gaga (who was in Vancouver this past week performing) to support this initiative.

“Our team members care deeply about this program,” Sagat said. “They take pride in the fact that they are reaching out to their peers and asking them to support a program that gives something directly back to their community.”

The drive goes on until Sept. 12, details in store or online.

Pitching in for fire relief

Speaking of giving back to the community, there are a few other initiative I’d like to mention.

Of course, many local individuals, groups, and businesses are pitching in to help in the wildfire relief.

Let me explain, for those unaware, that this means more than just helping the fire evacuees who are thrust from their homes – often with few or no basic supplies. This is about helping individuals and communities rebuild in the aftermath of a forest fire.

So, it warms my heart to hear about different endeavours being taken by folks. In this week’s column, I’d like to invite local businesses to let me know if they’re doing something specific to help in the fire relief.

Of course, as you’ll have seen on the cover of this week’s print edition of the Langley Advance, Redwoods Golf Course – with a great deal of community support – helped raise $52,500 Tuesday during its Drive for Relief. The money will go to the Red Cross wildfire relief efforts.

And, here’s one that involves a few local stores. The BC Liquor Stores donated $340,000 to the Red Cross. Quite the feat in only three weeks.

Plus, while this isn’t a local effort, let me spotlight another example. Kraft Heinz is donating more than 50,000 pounds of food to the 100 Mile House food bank, to help ensure everyone impacted by the wildfires has access to nutritious food.

Please let me know of other local efforts. The summer and the fire season isn’t over yet, and more can still be done, with many communities still under evacuation alert or evacuation order, and more weeks of a hot summer still around the corner.

Email me details to rhooper@langleyadvance.com. I’d love to hear from you.

Help them be kids again

I’ve marked the calendar with a big circle around next Wednesday, Aug. 9.

It’s one of my favourite days of the year – It’s Pirate Pak Day.

The White Spot restaurant on Fraser Highway, next to Willowbrook Shopping Centre, has been gearing up for this day a lot longer than I have.

This local restaurant, which holds the biggest fundraiser of all 62 locations in B.C. and Alberta, is hoping to break its 2016 record by selling the most Pirate Paks and raising the most money ever for Zajac Ranch for Children.

According to the sign outside, their hope is to float 2,900 boats in one day. If you’re fearful this location will be too busy, consider checking out the restaurants in either Aldergrove (on 264th Street, next to the Best Western) or in Walnut Grove (just north of Colossus). They too will be celebrating this special occasion – and raising oodles of cash for the cause.

To tell you a little more about this local charity, Zajac Ranch is located northeast of Maple Ridge, offers a summer camp for children and young adults living with life-threatening illnesses and chronic disabilities. The kids get a chance to kayak, climb, swim, horseback ride, and just be kids – despite their ailments. It is so incredible to see smiles on these kids’ faces during this “camping” experience.

So back to the point of my reference. You can help.

White Spot jumped on board the fundraising train eight years ago, and set aside one day to do something very special for the community.

Since its inception, White Spot has managed to raise more than half a million dollars for Zajac Ranch.

So, a quick reminder, Pirate Pak Day is happening on Wednesday, Aug. 9. It’s a chance for buccaneers both young and young-at-heart (those wanting to re-live childhood memories) to order an adult Pirate Pak – whether dining in or taking out.

And even for those not interested in a Pirate Pak – which I just can’t understand being possible, but okay, I’m willing to accept that unlikely reality – there are other items on a special Pirate Pak Day menu that will see $2 from each entree or sandwich also going to the cause.

Also new this year, guests who can’t make it to a White Spot location on Aug. 9, will have the option of donating right from their mobile device. Guests can text PIRATE to 20222 to donate $10 to Zajac Ranch.

The very next day

If next Wednesday is going to be your day to dine out and help kids at Zajac Ranch, then you might want to set up Thursday aside as your treat day – and a day to help sick kids.

Thursday, Aug. 10 is the always popular Dairy Queen Miracle Treat Day.

Proceeds from every Blizzard sold that day will be donated to the BC Children’s Hospital.

All five DQ locations in Langley, that means the one in Aldergrove, one Langley City, one in Walnut Grove, one in Willowbrook, and the newest one in Willoughby Town Centre, will be participating.

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Is there something you want to tell me about business happenings in Langley? Please do.

rhooper@langleyadvance.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

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