Volunteers help hand out backpacks to families during City Dream Centre’s Back to School backpack giveaway at Kwantlen Park Secondary School on Saturday (Aug. 24). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

City Dream Centres hands out 1,000 backpacks at back to school event in Surrey

This is the fifth year the charity is hosting the event in the city

Within 15 minutes of City Dream Centre’s annual backpack giveaway beginning, the lineup to register had filled up with hundreds of families.

While the lineup was long “right off the bat,” City Dream Centre president and founder Loretta Hibbs said it wasn’t uncommon.

“It depends… Sometimes they line up from 6:30 in the morning — even in the rain,” she said at the start of the event. “We’ve had windstorms. We’ve had pouring down rain, but today it actually looks like we’re going to have a decent day which I’m so happy about.”

This is the fifth year the charity has run its back-to-school event, which includes a backpack giveaway, produce bags, free haircuts and free clothing.

On Saturday, City Dream Centre was holding the back-to-school event in Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford, with 2,000 backpacks between the three sites. There were 1,000 bags to giveaway in Surrey, Hibbs said.

“This year, we’re thinking we might get a little close to running out (in Surrey). But 1,000 kids will get a backpack for sure.”

According to City Dream Centre’s website, the event is to help families “who may be finding it challenging to provide all that their kids need for the new school year.”

Going back to school, Hibbs said, is a stressful time.

“It’s just a fun day to say, ‘Hey, we’re here to support you if you need anything.’ I think this relieves some of the pressure for the families that are working in poverty.”

Hibbs said the charity’s focus is on the marginalized community because “some people may feel invisible.” She said the aim is to “make them feel visible, that we see them and that we care and that we want to help them win.”

Over the years hosting the event, Hibbs said she’s noticed that families will come to it “cautiously.”

“They come and see what it’s like, and then they’ll run home and get other families to see what it’s like,” Hibbs said. “They bring a lot of families back and that, to me, shows that they’re really excited about this event and it means a lot to them.

“You can see the kids faces as they’re running around. They’re excited. There’s a lot of free stuff here for them… We’ve got a lot of stuff going on that it just lets them enjoy what we have in our community and kind of takes away whatever pressures they’re thinking of.”

“It’s amazing the need. I didn’t know the need was so big in our city. We live in an amazing country and to se the need in this families is quite heartbreaking, but at the same time we get to play a small part in helping these families,” she said.

“Our goal is to bridge the gap between homelessness, addiction and poverty to self-sustainability, to empower people to be able to give back to their society.”

Throughout the year, City Dream Centre also has an adopt-a-school program with the Surrey School District, feeding programs, development program and city care dental – a mobile dental care unit. The charity also runs For the Love of Thrifting (106-19211 Fraser Hwy.), which helps to support its causes.

For more information on City Dream Centre, visit citydreamcentre.com.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

 

Rita Gush, 6, gets her hair cut during City Dream Centre’s Back to School backpack giveaway at Kwantlen Park Secondary School on Saturday (Aug. 24). (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Just Posted

Police looking for missing teen last seen at Surrey Central bus loop

Surrey RCMP say Daniel Froehlich has been missing since 10 p.m. on Sept. 10

Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Surrey

Investigators were asking anyone who witnessed the incident to come forward

PHOTOS: Terry Fox Run held in South Surrey

Annual event took place at South Surrey Athletic Park

Semiahmoo Rock alum to suit up for Costa Rica at world lacrosse event

2019 World Indoor Lacrosse Championship to be played in

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer makes stop in South Surrey

Scheer announces promise of new tax cut

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Most Read