Madge and Jim Vecchio, on the right, received the Special Recognition Award at the Surrey Food Bank’s Christmas open house on Saturday, Nov. 24. Santa Claus was a special guest at the event and presented the awards with food bank executive director Feezah Jaffer, second left. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey Food Bank honours donors at Christmas open house

Thirteen organizations, people and groups receive awards

Without the help of consistent donors, supporters and volunteers, the Surrey Food Bank executive director says the organization wouldn’t be able to do the work they do.

Thirteen organizations, people and groups were honoured at the Surrey Food Banks annual Christmas open house on Saturday, Nov. 24.

“We do this event every year as a thank you to our donors, our supporters, our volunteers, our staff, our community. We really, really can’t do what we do without you,” said executive director Feezah Jaffer to a crowd of people filling up the Surrey Food Bank.

The first award of the morning went to Odlum Brown for Outstanding Corporate Donor. Jaffer said the company has donated more than $40,000 to the food bank in recent years.

“That money goes directly to purchasing much-needed items like protein, formula, diapers, fresh produce.”

Outstanding Small Business Donor went to B&W Insurance, which Jaffer said are “wonderful donors and supporters this last year, donating over $2,000.”

Salesian Gospel Roads Youth Group received Outstanding Service Club for “for everything they do for us, for their greater community and shaping the youth of tomorrow,” Jaffer said.

“The youth that they bring always show such compassion, such warmth and a really, really great community spirit.”

Outstanding Donor went to David and Tanis Jorge.

Stericycle, which received Outstanding Food Industry Donor, has given “hundreds of thousands of pounds of food that goes directly into the hands of our clients,” Jaffer said. That food, she said, is donated through “reclamation.”

“What comes in reclamation is not only food items, but also other essential items that our clients need. Things like toiletries, pet food and all those overlooked items that you probably don’t think about when you go to the grocery store.”

The Outstanding Community Supporter award went to Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Jaffer said the Delta-based organization has donated more than $15,000 to the Surrey Food Bank over the last two years.

TD Canada Trust received the award for Outstanding Volunteer Group.

Outstanding School Supporter went to Chimney Hill Elementary students.

“Each and every single one of those kids has made an impact by coming here,” she said. “It’s so great to see their faces when they come in and then when they leave because, inevitably, their outlook changes, and that’s one of the reasons why I love my job so much and why I know our staff loves their job so much.”

Beta Sigma Phi received the award for Outstanding Tiny Bundles Supporter. Jaffer said the women’s sorority hosts a “wine and cheese night” where items such as baby clothes and diapers are donated, and once a week volunteers come by to help out at the food bank.

“Our tiny bundles program is quite a robust program and we serve over 200 babies a week,” she said. “Our tiny bundles program is the largest in the province. Forty-one per cent of our clients are children, and 60 per cent of that number are under the age of 10. Sixty per cent of that number are under the age of five.”

The BC Lions received the Outstanding Supporter award for their volunteer efforts over the years. Jaffer said that “For many years, the BC Lions have been our neighbours and friends.”

However, the Special Recognition Award went to the Vecchios, a couple in their 80s. Jim and Madge Vecchio, Jaffer said, “have been a constant sight here every Wednesday at the Surrey Food Bank for over 10 years.”

Jaffer said every week the couple brings sandwiches for volunteers, and they volunteer with their church, St. Matthew’s Parish, which hosts a soup kitchen.

“This award is for their tenacity, for their compassion for their spirit, for their love of those less fortunate,” Jaffer said. “They’re two of my favorite people in the world, and I don’t say that for a lot of people, except my family and the people here. The Vecchios are truly the epitome of what community spirit and compassion should be.”



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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READ ALSO: Local union in Surrey takes it to the streets for the food bank

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