Easter bags going to kids from Bowls of Hope

About 600 Easter bags were being filled on Monday with fresh fruit, juice and chocolate treats, to go along with the nutritious lunches.

  • Apr. 8, 2014 5:00 a.m.
Rich Popham (right) and other volunteers fill hundreds of Easter bags with fruit

Rich Popham (right) and other volunteers fill hundreds of Easter bags with fruit

Thousands of hot lunches are served to hungry school kids in Chilliwack every year in the Feed the Children program put on by Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society.

About 600 Easter bags were being filled by volunteers on Monday with fresh fruit, juice and chocolate treats, to go along with the nutritious lunches heading to the schools.

Program volunteers and offenders work out of the kitchen of the Chilliwack Community Correctional Centre on Rowat Avenue getting the soup and sandwiches ready for lunchtime transport.

The Bowls of Hope coordinators say that a whopping 120,000 hot lunches were ladled out with love in 16 Chilliwack schools in 2013.

“I do presentations and find people are in disbelief that there are hungry children in almost every school in Chilliwack,” said volunteer coordinator Cindy Waters for Fraser Valley Community Corrections.

She started as a volunteer delivering soup in the Feed The Children program and now coordinates the broader efforts of a network of volunteers for Corrections.

How does she describe Bowls of Hope to someone who doesn’t know what they do?

“It’s people in the community who care about children,” she said.

The Feed the Children program began humbly in 2005, feeding more than a dozen school kids. It has grown exponentially since then with 50 volunteers now committed to keeping it going, with several corporate sponsors.

“It’s very rewarding to volunteer because they see the value in what we are doing, and they want to make sure the program continues. They are willing to do whatever it takes.”

They even tend a vegetable garden on-site for soup and sandwich ingredients, and the Local Harvest Farm Market is also supplying fresh produce.

At the heart of the effort there is keen recognition that nutrition and healthy food play crucial roles in giving school kids the very best shot they can get at having a good life, starting by being successful in school.

“For a lot of people at the Correctional Centre, that was them, the kids who come to school hungry every day. If we can keep just one child in school because their belly is full and they can concentrate, we will have succeeded.”

One of the centre’s residents once told her that if he had been offered a hot lunch every day when he was a kid, he might not have ever ended up in jail.

The feedback from teachers is very encouraging, as the children tell them how much they enjoy the soup, or the wieners and beans.

There’s a recipe collection used in the kitchen centre where they’ve amassed recipes for 20 types of delicious soup that they can make to ladle up a different one every day. There is no overhead for the program, and each bowl of soup works out to about 33 cents.

Their biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up shortly, with a goal of raising $50,000. As in the past, all proceeds go directly to feed the children of Chilliwack who go to school hungry.

Bowls of Hope Dinner/Auction, May 2, Squiala Community Centre, 5:30 p.m., tickets $40 or table of 8 for $300.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The University of the Fraser Valley Peace and Reconciliation Centre
UFV students hold online forum on peace and reconciliation

Two online sessions on Feb. 25 include student research

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
EDITORIAL: We shouldn’t have to have a Pink Shirt Day, but we do

‘Children are a product of their environment’

Lucas Frost at the trailhead of Teapot Hill. (Lucas Frost)
Hiking Teapot Hill for organization that helps homeless youth in Chilliwack

Lucas Frost hopes his hiking fundraiser for Cyrus Centre will help get some kids off the street

Nietzsche, the ginger cat who worked at The Book Man, poses for a photo on Sept. 7, 2017. He died on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Famous Chilliwack bookstore cat, Nietzsche, dies

‘Every single thing you could want in a cat, Nietzsche embodied,’ says Amber Price

A new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford will include shared kitchen space that can be accessed by small and medium-sized businesses. (Stock photo by Robyn Wright from Pixabay)
Almost $2M to support new Fraser Valley food hub in Abbotsford

Project being developed by District of Mission and Mission Community Skills Centre

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Head of internal medicine at Chilliwack General Hospital Dr. Shari Sajjadi talks about the positive feedback hospital staff have received over this last year in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Dr. Shari Sajjadi says a simple ‘thank you’ helps keep up spirits of healthcare workers

‘We are so thankful for the positive feedback we are getting from our patients’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Most Read