Help Spread Joy this Holiday

’Tis the season of giving once again, and Abbotsford’s Christmas Bureau offers a few ways to support our neighbours over the holiday season.

 

One option is a direct sponsorship where sponsors are matched with a family or senior in the community. Sponsors are asked to provide food items from a set list and gifts for their matched family which they then deliver directly to their door They communicate ahead of time to find out their needs and the recipients enjoy the personalized gifts and food options.

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Toys for Tots Event to Collect Gifts at Sunday Event

The 10th annual Toys for Tots event is being held this Sunday, November 27th at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Centre. The event collects toys and donations for the Christmas Bureau program of the Archway Food Bank.

Community members are invited to bring gifts and enjoy a free buffet breakfast along with entertainment at the drop-in event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Truck full of donations

Reflecting on the fall of 2021

Amid an unprecedented pandemic, the Fraser Valley experienced unprecedented flooding in November 2021. Residents watched helplessly as their residences and businesses filled with water. As thousands of residents were suddenly evacuated and cut off from their workplaces and loved ones, hundreds turned to the Archway Food Bank for basic provisions and non-perishable food items.

With the flooding came disruptions to supply chains which caused food shortages. For those already accessing the Food Bank anxieties were running high as reserves of food and resources to travel to other towns to purchase supplies are often out of reach.

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15th Auto Mall Food Bank Drive Continued!

Fifteen years ago, the Dealers of the Fraser Valley Auto Mall decided to organize a large donation to the Archway Food Bank of Abbotsford. The event grew each year and in view of the current circumstances, 2021 has seen huge generosity. On December 22, 2021, in the showroom of MSA Ford, Steve Magown, manager of the Fraser Valley Auto Mall presented a cheque in the amount of $19,000 to Rebecca Thuro and advised that, with last-minute donations, the total amount for 2021 would increase.

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500k from Sale of Peardonville Community Hall Donated to Archway Starfish Pack Program

The Peardonville Community Association Society has donated $500,000 from the sale of their hall to the Starfish Pack Program of the Archway Food Bank.  

“Our Peardonville Community Hall Committee choose the Starfish Program as it represents most closely the mandate of the original Peardonville Society objectives,” said June Ross, a member of the Peardonville Committee. 

“The main fundraisers and programs were for children. Stemming from the 2nd World War, the neighbourhood women became part of the Women’s Institute whose motto was “no child should ever go hungry” and the Starfish program fits that motto perfectly.”  

“Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are for this donation,” said Rod Santiago, the Executive Director of Archway Community Services. “This will do so much to enhance the food the children receive each week, the number of children we can help and live on as an ongoing endowment.”   

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Flood Response

We’re very fortunate that our Food Bank building was not negatively impacted by flooding.. But we are very concerned about possible disruptions to our supply chain. As you know, thousands of people rely on us to access essential food service each month. During this local emergency we are also supporting some displaced individuals including approximately 200 temporary farm workers. 

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More to the Story

More to the Story

By Rebecca Thuro & Food Justice Team

“Mom, can I go my friend’s birthday at the rec centre on Friday?” says Katrina to her mother Tricia. Tricia wants with all her heart for her daughter to be able to experience the joy of celebrating her friend, but she has a dilemma. The car ride to the rec centre is across town, and a birthday gift is out of the question. The last she checked, there was $20 in the bank, gas in the car was on empty and the fridge was looking bare. Friday’s pay day felt very far away.

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Mom and daughter

A Mom’s Difficult Decision

(3 Minute Read)
By Meghan Kellington & Rebecca Thuro

Jennifer has a lot of people depending on her. She is a single parent who deeply loves her three daughters – ages 13, 10, and 7. She is also tirelessly caring for her elderly mother who has been battling illness. Jennifer has been unable to work due to a disability and depends solely on the disability income to provide for her family. To make ends meet, Jennifer has been accessing food at the Food Bank.

 

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Volunteers are the best

Volunteer Week 2021

Since July of 2020 Archway Food Bank has had 300 people raise their hand to say “yes, I want to use these hands to help.” We would have never survived this pandemic without the courageous help of our current and new volunteers. The diversity of volunteers that stepped up has enriched our pandemic experience. Meeting new faces and saying, let’s lean on each other (figuratively!) through this tough year, has lifted our spirits when we all needed it most.

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Connecting during Christmas

Connecting During a COVID Christmas

by Tracy Rahn (Christmas Bureau Coordinator) and Rebecca Thuro

If there is one thing that connects us all as human beings, it’s the deep desire to be seen. To be known. To feel that we belong. It is, in the simplest terms, the need for connection – this has been especially highlighted in a year where isolation is necessary. I (Tracy Rahn) experienced some of the most profound moments of connection, of empathy and understanding at this year’s Christmas Bureau. I found it peeking out from behind masked faces, passing sets of eyes that we sometimes may not even recognize as our neighbour or old acquaintance.

 

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The Impact of Delivery

At Thanksgiving we shared how the Archway Food Bank is breaking the stereotype and distributing fresh food every day.

When the cost of transportation to and from the Food Bank can cost $12 by taxi, transportation was a barrier to accessing food. Now with home delivery – this means that people like Mary-Margaret can have nutritious food delivered directly to her door.

We’d like you to meet Mary-Margaret.

You can hear directly from Mary-Margaret about the impact that fresh food from the Food Bank has made to her.

 

Tammy’s Story

by Lucas Driediger

I was first introduced to Tammy earlier this Fall. Although she had used the Food Bank off and on in the past, the pandemic and changed things. With some newly diagnosed health issues, contracting any new sickness has created new challenges.

Thankfully, the combination of her positive attitude, strong demeanor, and community support have helped her get by in this time.

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Lifelong Impact Header

Life Long Impact of One Christmas

In dark times like these, it’s stories of hope that lift our spirits. We’d like to introduce you to Kihci Têpakohp Iskotêw Iskwêw (Emily Henry) a current board member at Archway Community Services. She is a Néhiyaw (Cree) person, originally from Ochapowace Band, Saskatchewan and she shares a personal story of how the compassion of strangers made a lifelong impact at Christmas when she was a child.

Her story is one of hope and how its effects can ripple through time.

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Toys for Tots Response

Toys For Tots Response

From the beginning of the planning process to the eventual cancellation of Toys for Tots Drive Thru, nothing could have prepared us for this year. Planning an event during a pandemic is not for the faint of heart! Knowing that the event was a huge driving force in making Christmas possible for 1,500 children was all the motivation we needed to continue to adjust the plans as guidelines changed. It was this fact that united the volunteers, sponsors, partners, and community.

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