Please tell us about the activities and impact of your project:

Me and my volunteers hand made school supply care packages in partnership with the Surrey Food Bank for low income families of all stages, ages, and backgrounds (for example, at risk children, refugees and newcomers, persons with disabilities, Indigenous people, LGBTQ2+ community members, racial and visible minorities, vulnerable individuals, and multi barrier populations) that have been further affected by the pandemic.

Pavneet stands outside the Surrey Food Bank Community Room, handing out school supplies

The Surrey Food Bank was a great partner because they serve 100’s of families each week which makes it much easier to access and reach out to the families and children we want to help. After discussing with the director, it may have been that families are trying to save money for other needs that the children in between who are going to school may have even less access to school supplies. Thus, it was important to provide essential school supplies.

We hope this motivates children and helps them feel comfortable during their school year as their education should not be neglected. School supplies were particularly important because they can be transferred from year to year and we hope to initiate this program with the help of the grant fund, but continue it afterwards as well.

In addition, I connected with staples as my sponsor to provide the best deals on good quality supplies. I separated packages for girls and boys and based on age (eg. putting crayons in the package versus pens). I also connected with my orthodontist clinic, PDG, who helped with donating additional toothbrushes and toothpaste for the children. This project was a further extension to the services already provided by the Surrey Food Bank to support those who have been affected by COVID-19.

Who did your project engage (target audience) and what impacts did you and your team achieve?

The target audience were any clients of the Surrey Food Bank who had children in grade school. Our team achieved helping children receive essential school supplies for families in need- we were able to distribute all 100 packages and every person that received the package was extremely thankful and excited to share the goodies with their children. Many parents expressed that these school supplies will help their children and create excitement to use the supplies for going to school!

Please tell us about your biggest success achieved through your project.

The biggest success achieved through this project was the direct impact we could make to children of a variety of families. While doing the distribution, just hearing the clients say thank you and how excited they were for the school supply packages was a huge accomplishment.

One of my highlights was having young children come up to my table and tell me that they were recently asking their mom that they needed school supplies- and were super excited to see all the things we had laid out for them.

Featuring Surrey Food Bank Volunteer: Pavneet Kalsi

Additional note: This was a $1500 grant Pavneet applied for to help the food bank and initiated the project with the help of Feezah. Pavneet has been volunteering at the food bank since 2013. She has previously volunteered in the baby room, done sorting, and mostly the front line and committed to volunteer during school breaks