New wheels offer sweet ride for Chilliwack Bowls of Hope

Fundraising efforts by Rotary Club of Chilliwack Fraser leads to upgrade in fleet for charitable group

The Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society can retire their old clunker now that they’re rolling in style.

Norm Deveau, director of marketing for Bowls of Hope, said the society is thrilled to have been given a brand new van recently. The gift was given by the Rotary Club of Chilliwack Fraser, and replaces a vehicle that had hit the end of its time.

The Rotary Club handed over the keys to the van in a ceremony on March 18, following a fundraising drive that was spearheaded by the Rotary after a chance encounter between the two groups last summer.

“We were at the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament last June,” Deveau said. “The Rotary club had a foursome in the tournament and were there giving out soup and telling everyone about our programs.”

One of the Rotarians, Gerry Enns, came up and asked what the group specifically needed. The answer was easy — a new vehicle.

After that meeting, the Rotary club set out to fundraise on the Bowls of Hope’s behalf. They managed to raise $35,000 for the new set of wheels.

“So what we’ve done is we replaced an old 1999 van,” Deveau said. “The transmission was going, the brakes needed to be done and ICBC told us it was worth about $500.”

Bowls of Hope feeds up to 600 Chilliwack students every school day, and uses two vehicles to transport soup and other nutritious foods out to the schools. On the south side of town, they’re using a van donated last year by Mertin GM. The new van replaces the old van that was being used on the north side.

The new van also increases opportunity for picking up produce, lowering fuel and repair costs, all of which allows the society to focus on their primary goal of feeding kids.

“This will be a major assist in making sure hungry kids in our community get a hot nutritious lunch,” Deveau said.

The tall, white van isn’t hard to spot, with its logo proudly written across the top. They’ve also added decals for all of their 36 sponsors.

The Bowls of Hope Society serves up more than 10,000 bowls of soup a month. Many of the children they feed have very little else to eat in a day. The program began in 2005 and has grown through donations of funds and food, as well as a huge army of volunteers. Since its inception, the program has been linked to positive changes in student behaviors. They’ve even received feedback from kids whose lives were improved by the additional meals.

The Chilliwack Bowls of Hope is dependent on community support. Their largest fundraising event is their gala auction, taking place on May 1 this year. They are aiming to raise $50,000 at the event. Tickets are $40 and include dinner and entertainment. The gala has been sold out for the last three years, and there are a handful of tickets left for this year’s gala, Deveau said.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visi chilliwackbowlsofhope.com.

 

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