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.
“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).”
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.
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.