The student-led program to provide weekend food to fellow hungry students in North Langley is saved for at least this school year and could be expanding to other areas.
The Weekend FuelBag program provides a bag of food for about 16 students at Walnut Secondary, Yorkson Middle School or R.E. Mountain Secondary. Brady Lumsden, Katrina and Emma Schulz had been running the program since school started in September.
But the student organizers were about to run out of food after the loss of the main donor.
Local media attention has brought forward not only offers of support from local individuals and businesses and even CUPE 403, but also curiosity about how to expand the program.
“We never expected to have so many people willing to help. It has been amazing to see how generous everyone is,” said student Katrina Schulz.
The Langley School District Foundation and executive Susan Cairns have been in touch and set the program up to be able to accept donations, including online. They donations must be specified for the Weekend FuelBag and tax receipts are issued for anything over $25.
Local resident Jesse Johnstone came forward to offer monthly donations.
“I had the desire to support a local cause and I didn’t think an opportunity to assist a program, that’s efforts support local kids showing up at school, assisting them to be well nourished so they can succeed at school and possibly even preventing them from dropping out, could be passed on,” Johnstone said. “The fact that the program was put together by other students, who recognized this need – that I as an adult member of the Langley community was unaware of – is amazing and inspiring.”
Buy Low said it would provide donations through its Brookswood location since the program’s main donor, the Walnut Grove store, is closing.
“Our counsellors are going to be reaching out to some other schools and we hope to get in touch with other leadership students to see if their classes are willing to take it on,” Schulz explained. “The first school we are going to try is Brookswood since Buy-Low Foods Brookswood location has requested that we do that.”
They will be meeting with the school to help set up a program there.
Schulz said the goal is to make the program secure for the long term.
“I think since we want to grow the program and since we want to bring the program to new schools the program is not secure. We hope to grow the program by two or three times so we need more donations because so far it is set for the program at our three schools only,” she said.
The trio have also heard from someone in Surrey asking how the program could be set up there to help students in need of nourishment.
The three students never expected the media attention when they sent a note about their concerns to the local papers.
Former Brookswood Secondary student Tim Dickert contacted the students and interviewed them on air at CKNW. The Langley Advance piece from Oct. 27 garnered a great deal of attention online and through its social media platforms as people helped spread the word. Rock 101 also interviewed the students.
The result is broad community support, some offering one-time donations and others offering longer term help.
“We also just heard from Langley School District Foundation that the Township of Langley firefighters, Silverman Mortgage, and Robles Real Estate have also come on board to help with Weekend Fuelbag,” Schulz added.
New supporters include:
Langley School District Foundation
A&A Customs Brokers (G.B. Robbins)
Buy-Low Foods Brookswood Location
IGA Walnut Grove
Lee’s Market (Fort Langley)
Shoes for Kids
Wendel’s True Foods
Jesse Johnstone (Langley resident)
Clipper Street Scrapbook Company
Sources Food Bank
Parents and grandparents
People can reach the program at email@example.com.