Volunteer Jenn Hampton with some of the backpacks given out during City Dream Centre’s “Back to School” charity event at Kwantlen Park Secondary in 2015. (File photo: Gord Goble)

‘Back to School’ charity event returns to Surrey’s Kwantlen Park Secondary

City Dream Centre’s annual backpack giveaway includes free haircuts, dental work

A Surrey-based church group will return to Kwantlen Park Secondary this Saturday (Aug. 25) with close to 1,000 free backpacks for kids who live in that area of the city.

The pouches will be filled with some school supplies for students heading back to class in a couple weeks.

City Dream City’s annual “Back to School” charity event has been held at the Surrey school for three years running.

“We’re prepared for about 1,500 people there, plus the 300 volunteers we feed,” said Kelly Voros, City Dream Centre’s administrator.

A Maple Leaf-sponsored barbecue lunch will be served. Free haircuts, clothing, manicures and food hampers will also be available to those who attend, along with a bouncy castle and face painting for youngsters. The organization’s mobile dental truck will also be there.

• RELATED STORY: Free dental work coming to Surrey neighbourhoods in mobile clinics, from 2017.

“We’re up to 15 hairdressers who will attend, up from 10 last year, so we’ll be able to do more haircuts this year,” Voros added.

“The clothing is from donations collected at our thrift store, For The Love of Thrifting (at #106-19211 Fraser Hwy., on the Surrey/Langley border).”

• RELATED STORY: Surrey businesses, churches come together to offer back-to-school bounty, from 2015.

This year, City Dream Centre’s annual charity event is expanding to locations in Langley and Vancouver that same day.

At the three sites on Saturday, a total of 1,800 free backpacks with school supplies will be given away. The Langley location is at Douglas Park Community Elementary, and Vancouver’s Broadway Church will host a similar event.

At Kwantlen Park (10441 132nd St.), the event will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Loretta Hibbs, City Dream Centre executive director, said she’s excited about adding two new locations this year.

“And we already have plans to expand to a fourth location in Abbotsford in 2019,” she stated in a release. “It’s an honour to serve these families who are facing so many challenges.”

The initiative builds on the organization’s Adopt-a-School program, which was launched in 2009 as Relate Community Care.

• RELATED STORY: Surrey church group has big dreams for long-vacant building on 104th Avenue, from 2016.

One day, the group aims to operate a City Dream Centre to help Surrey’s “underprivileged and marginalized” residents obtain food, clothing, job skills, health care and housing. The proposed facility is modelled on Los Angeles’ Dream Center, founded in 1994.

In Guildford, as a site for its City Dream Centre, the organization has eyed the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre, a 260,000-square-foot brick building built in 1998 and relegated as vacant pretty much ever since.

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