Mike Csoka is being recognized posthumously with the Order of Chilliwack, given to citizens to recognize outstanding achievement or long-term contributions to the community.
Csoka, who passed away in February of 2021, gave back in many ways, but he’s best known as the founder and past president of the Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society. When he became the director of the Chilliwack Community Correctional Centre in downtown Chilliwack three decades ago, Mike heard about a group of students at a nearby school that were going to class hungry. He began making them sandwiches each day, and this small act of kindness grew into an organized movement.
He ushered the Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society into existence as a way to ensure that no child in Chilliwack would have to go to school hungry.
“Our community will forever be grateful for the incredible work Mike did feeding students in Chilliwack,” said Mayor Ken Popove. “We all know that everything is a little more difficult when you are hungry, but thanks to Bowls of Hope, hungry children and youth have the ability to eat a good meal and re-focus their minds on productive activities, instead of wondering when they will eat next.”
Today, the organization feeds over 850 children in Chilliwack daily, thanks to more than 120 volunteers.
The society’s Feed the Children Program provides soup, fruit and other hot lunch items to 23 schools within Chilliwack School District 33.
Csoka is the seventh person to receive the Order of Chilliwack. Previous recipients include John Jansen, Steven and Gwen Point, Brian Minter, Fred Bryant, the Chilliwack Rotary Club, and Dorothy Kostrzewa.
In 2017, Mike was also the recipient of the UFV Betty Urquhart Community Service award, recognizing his commitment to life-long learning and community. Most recently, he served as an integral part of the City’s Integrated Community Safety Task Force.