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In 1981, in response to a downturn in the economy, a coalition of churches opened a food cupboard in Surrey. Two years later, in June 1983, the Surrey Food Bank Society was formed and opened up in a dilapidated building on King George Highway. The location and the Society itself were deemed to be temporary measures until the economy turned around and people could get back on their feet.

Food Bank in 1983

Presentation of first donation to the Surrey Food Bank by a community group – North Surrey Lions. From left to right, Clay Campbell, Wilf Stacey, Barry Shiles, Jim Voight, unknown.

What began as a temporary solution to a temporary problem has grown to an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Whalley, a fleet of five vehicles, a lift truck, 400 active volunteers and a staff core of fifteen. The Surrey Food Bank Society currently distributes approximately 2,000 food hampers each week and has expanded support to many other internal programs, agencies and is affiliated with many different food security programs, such as the Food Action Coalition.

After 34 years we have come to the realization that people will always need our help. We like to say we give people a “hand up, not a hand out”.