The last Star Wars photo session at Toy Traders this spring helped raise $1

WHAT’S IN STORE LANGLEY: Cycling for kids’ sports

Going the distance for kids, food and more are covered in this edition of What's in Store.

PHOTO: Langley’s David Brooks will be riding a spin bike at Marks this weekend and a road bike next month, all in aid of helping underprivileged kids get into sports.

David Brooks will be riding 500 kilometres over five days through Alberta next month to raise money for underprivileged Langley kids who want to participate in sports.

The Langley resident is a district manager for Marks – based out of the Langley store on the bypass. And, this will be his third time taking part in the company’s Pedal for Kids annual fundraiser – third time riding, fourth time raising money.

To help raise awareness about the bicycle trek and – more importantly about JumpStart – Brooks and his Kelowna store manager Morgan Brewer will take turns riding a spin bike in the Langley store on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. – at least.

“We will be asking customers for donations, of course, but it’s really about JumpStart and bringing awareness to what the program does,” said Brooks, who grew up in South Africa and moved to Canada in 2000.

He was raised by a single mother who was constantly working to ensure he was able to be active in sports.

“Every day of the week, I was playing something,” he said. “I know sports kept me from going down some bad roads in my life,” Brooks added, explaining why he was so excited to learn about JumpStart and to ultimately find a way to help out.

During the past three year – the first two as a rider and last year as a fundraiser only (called away by a family emergency) – he’s already raised about $35,000 for JumpStart.

And putting that in context, he said $100 gets a Canadian kids into sports, so that’s 350 kids he’s already helped. His goal this year, before he and the team depart on Pedal for Kids on Sept. 8, will be to raise another $5,000.

“I’m really excited about riding the Pedal for Kids for a third time,” he said.

“With one in three Canadian families unable to enrol their children in sport or recreational activities as a result of financial barriers, many kids are missing out,” he said.

“It’s really about getting kids active,” Brooks added, noting he’s been cycling since he was nine, raced competitively during his teens, and has enjoyed it on a recreational level ever since.

“I’m a big supporter of JumpStart, how could I not be. I can see what it does.”

In preparing for this year’s trek, the North Otter resident has been doing some more serious training the past few months.

To find out more about the fundraiser, visit: www.jumpstartpedalforkids.ca, or to donate specifically to David Brooks efforts, visit: www.ctjumpstart.ca/davidbrooks

How the money helps

Through the Langley chapter of JumpStart:

2015 kids helped – 592

2015 disbursements – $90,529

2005 to 2015 kids helped – 4,068

2005 to 2015 disbursements – $461,120

Top five activities in 2015:

– Soccer

– Community centre memberships

– Sports camp

– Multisports

– Dance

Top five community partners where money was disbursed (2015):

– Langley Boys and Girls Club – $45,278

– City of Langley – $11,166

– PUCKs Powerplay Foundation – $10,000

– Big Brothers Big Sisters of Langley – $6,154

– Encompass Support Services Society –  $5,596

STORY CONTINUES BELOW

PHOTO: The former Choo-Choo’s Restaurant will soon become a Mexican grill and cantina. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Foodies feast downtown

Of course, foodies from Langley will be converging on Downtown Langley City this weekend for the annual Fork & Finger event.

Besides this particular food extravaganza that’s taking over the core on Saturday, I want to inform you of a little swap-a-roo happening soon.

Since Choo-Choo’s unexpectedly vacated the Old Country Inn space along the one-way section of Fraser Highway, there’s been all types of speculation of who would take over the space.

Well, the mystery is solved. The neighbouring Viva Mexico Grill & Catina will be moving a few doors east, taking over a much larger establishment.

The signs tell us it will open in late summer, so it should be any time now.

And just down the street, and new to the core, is Quesadillas & Chilaquiles – which has just opened up around the corner at 5572 204th St.

Juan Gonzalez, a Red Seal chef in the business for 25 years, oversees the food at the eatery owned by Ernesto Ojeda – new to the restaurant industry.

The restaurant opened July 8 offering authentic Mexican cuisine with the emphasis on the kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables that are staples in that nation.

Burgers to beat MS

On the topic of food, it never seems to fail that my column includes some reference to food.

With my girth, this shouldn’t surprise you. But once again, I have a great excuse for focusing on food this week.

A&W Restaurants are once again hosting its annual MS Day, with $1 from every Teen burger going to the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada.

Today (Thursday, Aug. 25) restaurants from across Canada will be participating in the special fundraising initiative.

Since 2009, A&W’s operators, staff, and guests have raised more than $8 million to support world-class MS research that is bringing a cur closer,and providing programs and services that help Canadians living with MS have better lives until a cure is found.

Ready for that burger?

 

Star Wars characters lend Shriners a hand

In an effort to raise more money for Langley Shriners and the good work they do in this community, Toy Traders is hosting another photo session for all those Star Wars lovers and geeks out there.

On Saturday, Aug. 27, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., people can have pictures taken with “authentic” Star Wars characters, all by donation to the Shriners.

In fact, store owner Matthew Purdy says “this will be our biggest one yet,” with more than 25 characters available for photos – everyone of them donating their time for the cause.

Visitors also have a chance for a meet and greet and free signing with Langley artist Shane Molina. He’s a bit of a self-proclaimed Star Wars lover who has more than 50 different Star Wars prints in his collection, and those and others will be on sale at Toy Traders for $9.95.

During the last Star Wars photo session at Toy Traders, Purdy said they raised a cool $1,200 in four hours.

“Yeah, that was our best day, so far. So now, this Saturday, we are doing 11 to 5 – and for obvious reasons we can’t go longer. Those costumes are so hot. The Chewbacca guy practically melts,” Purdy said.

He’s also working with a friend to build a new, life-sized Droid that he plans to unveil that day.

Took a life-sized C-3P) and they’re making a movie-accurate Bounty Hunter “4 LOM” from the 1980 Empire Strikes Back.

It’s still a work in progress, Purdy said.

If the force is strong within you, you probably don’t need directions to this toy store, but just in case, it is located at 19880 Langley Bypass.

Giving to Special Olympians

Langley’s own Centra Windows and its employees cares.

That was the message delivered recently, when volunteers and athletes with Special Olympics were presented with a cheque for $32,000.

Special O was a charity nominated to benefit from the company’s Centra Cares 21st annual charity golf fundraiser, which raised $128,000 this year for such efforts in the community, said Centra Construction Group vice president Jeff Foster.

PHOTO: Special Olympic athletes and volunteers received a mock cheque from Centra Cares board of directors Emily Parson, Carey Day, and Jeff Foster.

The contribution will go a long ways towards facility rentals, athlete and coach training, sports equipment and apparel, and tournament travel, explained Special Olympics president and coordinator Bryan LeBlanc.

“This will help our athletes achieve their dream and goals, whether it be just competing in the community or representing the City at regionals and provincials, or representing Canada at the World Games,” LeBlanc added.

During the past five years, Centra has fundraised and donated more than $500,000 to local charities. Each year, employees nominated charities and causes in need of support.

Centra reaches out to these organizations in many ways including financial donations and supplying and installing windows, doors, and siding to those organizations in need.

PHOTO: Special Olympians Marc Theriault, Michaela Robinson, and Nicholas LeBlanc, along with president and coordinator Bryan LeBlanc (centre) received a donation from Centra Cares.

Through the annual charity golf tournaments they are able to fundraise for numerous charities, and Centra Construction Group always matches the funds raised dollar-for-dollar.

Last year, Centra Cares became a registered charity to further expand its fundraising efforts, Foster explained.

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