Nimi and Bob Sangha.

What’s in Store: Langleyites lead India excursion

An excursion to India and the end of the rails for Choo-Choos.

An information session is planned tonight (Wednesday, April 6) in Langley aimed at enticing people to explore India and help the local hospital.

Langley’s own Bob and Nimi Sangha have joined hands with Bestway Tours & Safaris to put together an exciting 16-day tour of Northern India, timed to occur during Diwali (Festival of Lights) in 2016.

The Sanghas, who speak the language and understand the customs, will personally escort the group on this excursion that includes stops at several UNESCO World Heritage sites, as well as visits to Amritsar, Udaipur, Ranakpur, Pushkar, Jaipur, Agra, and Delhi.

Bob, owner of Surlang Medicine Centre, and he and his wife, Nimi, are long-time Langley residents.

After a recent visit at Langley Memorial Hospital, the family was so grateful for the care provided to their mom, that they made a $2,000 donation for shower chairs for the family practice teaching unit (a 18-bed unit offers care to frail, elderly patients 85+ who do not have a family doctor or whose family doctor does not work within the hospital).

Anyway, Bob and Nimi wanted to do more to help the hospital, and this idea is what came out of that giving nature.

As they tell it, they are excited about this opportunity to help the hospital that has cared so well for their family.

So, if a trip to exotic India is on your bucket list, and this kind of personal escort is appealing, you should check out the information session being held tonight, Wednesday, April 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. at the Township of Langley’s Civic Facility, in the Nicomekl Room, 20338 65th Ave.

People are asked to RSVP at 604-533-6422 or erin.mcdonald@fraserhealth.ca.

Train-themed diner leaves the station

After almost a quarter century parked in the core of downtown Langley, the choo-choo has left the station.

Much to my surprise, the long-time City restaurant called Choo-Choo’s (and known for its eclectic decor complete with a model train running through it) has closed up.

Signs on both the front door and their website simply say “Choo Choo’s has retired.”

“We’d like to thank you all for the fun times, support and memories that our family has shared with yours over the last 24 years. We wish you and your loved ones the very best,” Terry and Helene Causton post.

On the door, they personalized it a bit more and said: “It has been a pleasure to watch our family grow with yours. We wish you all the very best and look forward to seeing you again soon.”

Well, we’re sad to see you go, and wish your family and all your staff well in your new endeavours.

This site – in the centre of the one-way section of Fraser Highway – has long since been a family-oriented restaurant in Langley, and we can only hope whatever comes in place of Choo-Choo’s can carry on that tradition.

For us old-timers around Langley, you remember this site as the original Old Country Inn, that later moved to brand new digs just down the street at 206th Street. It eventual closed, replaced by Sonoma Grill and now Oriental Pearl.

Food bank will serve up chicken to clients

More than 24,000 pounds of locally-raised, organic free-range chicken are headed to local food banks courtesy of a long-time Fraser Valley organic farmer.

Corry Spitters, owner of Oranya Farms on 20th Avenue in Aldergrove, got the idea to donate the chicken through his local financial institution, Envision Financial – a division of First West Credit Union.

“When I explained to Lisa Klee, my business banking expert at Envision Financial, that I had surplus product that I didn’t want to go to waste,” Spitters said. “We got to talking about the Full Cupboard program supporting local food banks.”

Envision Financial’s Full Cupboard program raises food, funds and awareness for local food banks through food and financial donations from First West Credit Union employees, members and community partners.

Spitters estimated the retail value of the chicken to be more than $113,000, and part of that is heading to Sources Langley Food Bank.

“It’s premium product,” Spitters said of the chicken. “I’m pleased it’s going to local food banks—Envision Financial connected me to the right people, so the decision was easy.”

The Langley food bank couldn’t be happier about his decision, said operations coordinator Bruce Strom.

“Sources of protein are the most expensive and challenging for our food bank to come by, especially early in the year, following the busy holiday season,” Strom added.

“Our clients have been so amazed and grateful to receive such a high quality product.

Oranya Farms and Envision Financial has helped meet the needs for our most vulnerable families at a challenging time of year.”

Food Banks BC executive director Laura Lansink is delighted B.C.’s food producers take opportunities to join the fight against hunger.

“Food producers can make a tremendous difference for local food banks, simply because of the scale of their operations,” said Lansink. “We’re grateful for those that regularly support local food banks and would love to partner with more.”

Now in its third year, The Full Cupboard program has raised more than $353,000 and collected more than 60,000 pounds of food for local food banks in the Lower Mainland and Kitimat.

“We get excited about this kind of thing,” said Susan Byrom, senior manager of community investment at Envision Financial.

“It’s important to us that we’re nurturing connections between people in our communities and community organizations that are helping make a difference for those who are in need or vulnerable.”

Membership pays off

And speaking of Aldergrove and financial institutions, I have to tell you that Aldergrove Credit Union (ACU) paid some pretty big dividends to its members this year.

In a recent announcement from CEO Gus Hartl, he confirmed that members received nearly $1 million in dividends and patronage rebates for 2015.

“As a financial services cooperative, we believe that doing business goes beyond providing financial products and services — giving back comes first,” Hartl said.

“We proudly share our time by volunteering, we share our resources, and we share our profits. Sharing is what we do.” he added.

It’s some pretty serious coin being put back into the pockets of its members, and Hartl explained that members earn money for taking care of their everyday banking needs – such as renewing their mortgage and investing for their retirement.

Since 2007, ACU has returned more than $14 million. The financial institution, which has been serving Langley for more than 60 years, has returned dividends and patronage rebates to its members since the 1970s.

All members share in the ownership of the credit union and when earnings are generated and cash flow is adequate, dividends and patronage rebates are paid to members, Hartl explained.

 

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