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Youth Philanthropy Initiative

Thank you so much for choosing the Surrey Food Bank as your charity of choice for your YPI project!


1. You will be required to volunteer for a continuous 5 hour shift from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday thru Friday. This is the only shift that is available for YPI! If you cannot volunteer for 5 hours from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Monday thru Friday, unfortunately we cannot accommodate your request.

2. You MUST book your time 1 week in advance with our Manager of Volunteer Resources. We are run on volunteers thus; we only have so many available spots per day. We cannot accommodate requests less than 1 week in advance.

To make arrangements to volunteer at the food bank, please contact our Manager of Volunteer Resources by email or by phone at (604) 581-5443.

YPI Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. What is your Vision?

    Our vision is to grow our community beyond hunger.

  • 2. What makes your charity different from others?

    The Surrey Food Bank is not an extension of the Provincial Social Services and therefore does not receive any government funding to support the work we do. We rely on the generosity of our community to donate food and money in order to provide nutritious food to people in our community who live below the low income cut-off (LICO) developed by Statistics Canada.

  • 3. What are your organizational goals?

    We are working to expand and develop strategic partnerships with other local community service providers to better serve our clients and meet the ever increasing need for food. We hope to foster and create programs, in partnership with other community service providers that will ultimately reduce the need for many of our clients to come to the Food Bank. In addition, we are looking for a larger, more centrally located building that will allow for us to maintain and develop services for our clients.

  • 4. How have you made a difference to the community so far?

    The Surrey Food Bank has been serving the community since 1983. Thousands of families have been able to withstand challenging circumstances because we were able to help them stretch very limited budgets.

    Of the approximately 14,000 people we help every month, 41% are children and babies and 4% are seniors.  Eleven percent of the families we serve are working but not earning sufficient funds to meet all their bills.

    We have developed different programs to meet the specific needs of our clients:

    • Tiny Bundles – full nutritional support for pregnant and nursing mothers and babies up to age one.
    • Toddler Totes – enhanced nutritional support for babies from ages one to two.
    • Pre-K – enhanced nutritional support for children two to five.
    • Hamper to your Home – delivery of hampers to those who are physically and medically unable to visit the food bank to select their food.
    • Seniors distribution – dedicated time for seniors to choose their food including extended time for them to convene socially.
  • 5. When did your charity begin?

    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. After 33 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”.

  • 6. Please describe your facilities.

    What began as a temporary solution to a temporary problem has grown to a 7,000 square foot warehouse in Whalley, four distribution centres (Whalley, North Delta, Green Timbers and Cloverdale), a fleet of five vehicles, a fork-lift, 150 active volunteers and a core staff of seventeen.

  • 7. Do you use volunteers?

    Yes – we need at least 20 to 30 volunteers every day to sort, distribute and deliver food.

  • 8. If so, how do you attract them?

    Primarily, we attract individuals through our website and community events. Fortunately many people in our community want to help and offer their time. Also, many businesses send in volunteer groups for a “Day of Caring”. School groups volunteer in the warehouse as a means of learning about food banks and the services we provide.

  • 9. What qualities do you look for in them?

    We look for individuals who have true compassion for others and a sincere desire to give back to their community.  Reliability and punctuality are also very important.

  • 10. What specific jobs do volunteers do?

    Volunteers work in different areas of the warehouse; including registration of clients, receiving donations, repackaging donations, sorting food, building hampers, handing out hampers and bread and various food items. Volunteers also have helped with cleaning, painting, and a variety of office tasks.

  • 11. How do you recognize them for their contribution?

    Our volunteers are integral to our operations and we sincerely appreciate their contribution and ensure we thank them regularly.  Volunteers at the Surrey Food Bank enjoy a dedicated space to take their breaks and socialize and are offered a hot lunch on a daily basis. In addition, we host an annual volunteer appreciation event in their honour.

  • 12. How does the community respond to your organization?

    We are very fortunate that our community generously supports the work we do. In the 33 years we have been providing food to our low-income neighbours, we have never had to turn anyone away due to a shortage of food. Our community supports us with food and fund drives, special fundraising events, volunteering, and donations of food and money.

  • 13. Are there any restrictions on whom you serve? (Age/gender/type of client?)

    We do have registration requirements and ask clients to produce their picture ID, proof that they live in Surrey or North Delta and proof that their income is below the low income cut-off (LICO). We also ask them to show Care Cards for each individual in their family so we can provide the appropriate amount of food for their family size.

  • 14. Could you give an example of someone or group you have helped?

    A family with three young children recently immigrated to Canada and both parents were working minimal hours and were barely making ends meet. They came to register at one of our distribution centres and were very appreciative of the food they received. After a few months, the mom came in and told us that she had found a full time position and her family would no longer need the Food Bank. She expressed her sincere gratitude and appreciation for our help.

  • 15. If your organization were to receive $5,000, how would you direct it?

    We always give our donors the option of directing their funds to a specific program. If no instruction is given, the money goes into general funding, and we often use it to purchase food items that aren’t donated in the sufficient quantity we need – protein, produce, formula and nutritional supplement for seniors.

  • 16. Do you have any major sponsors?

    Every donation is important and we benefit from donations from individuals and organizations, many who have made multiple gifts. Some corporations and organizations provide grants that we apply for on an individual basis, and we are frequently successful in receiving these grants.

  • 17. Do you receive government funding?

    No, we do not receive any core government funding.  We do apply for an annual Gaming Grant and are often successful.

  • 18. What are your best fund-raisers?

    Please refer to Question 19.

  • 19. How many fund-raisers do you have per year?

    We host only one fundraiser each year – our Breakfast with the Bank. Over 600 business people, politicians and community members attend a one hour breakfast.  We take this opportunity to entertain, inform and inspire our guests to donate. All other fundraisers are initiated and organized by third parties who wish to host an event to benefit the Surrey Food Bank.

  • 20. How many people work here?

    Our regular complement of staff is 13 full-time and 4 part-time staff, along with 20-30 volunteers every day.

Need more information?

If you require further information, photos, etc you will be required to volunteer your time at the Surrey Food Bank. We rely on Volunteers and your time is greatly appreciated!

Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to make an appointment especially for you to answer your YPI questions.