God helps those who help others. Excuse me, for changing the original adage, as I venture to write that this modified version only fits very well on the team of philanthropists behind this noble cause.


In response to a downturn in the economy, a coalition of churches opened a food cupboard in Surrey in 1981. Two years later, in June 1983, the Surrey Food Bank Society was formed and opened up in a dilapidated building on King George Highway Surrey. The location and the Society itself were deemed to be temporary measures until the economy turned around for the betterment and people could get back to work.

This 35 years young Non- Profit Org- is the darling of the masses who are in constant need to quench their hunger for free – till they find their moorings and put life back on the rails of normalcy. Along with millions, I salute these selfless, ever-ready team of volunteering angels who are always ready to help the needy with time and donations.

The small sapling planted 3.5 decades back, has blossomed into a banyan tree. The salient features of this beloved organization are:

• an 8,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Whalley,

• a fleet of five vehicles,

• a lift truck,

• 400 active volunteers – the back bone

• and a staff core of fifteen.

The Surrey Food Bank Society currently distributes approximately 2,000 food hampers each week and has expanded support to many other internal programs, agencies and is affiliated with many different food security programs, such as the Food Action Coalition.

When I asked Kuldip K Ardawa Community Partnership Manager Surrey, on my maiden visit to this location, she added “After 34 years we have come to the realization that people will always need our help. We like to say we give people a “hand up, not a hand out”.

The Surrey Food Bank provides free food to families living in Surrey and North Delta. We pride ourselves in supplying nutritious food in a respectful and dignified environment. In addition, we believe it is our responsibility to connect our clients to other community services as a means of helping them become self-sufficient. We take pride that we “Invite, Inform, Involve and Inspire” our community

Donations and volunteers are the backbone:

Being a non-profit, charitable organization, the Surrey Food Bank operates successfully because of donations of money and food. These donations come from individuals, organizations and corporations. This org. also benefit from various fundraising efforts, such as our Breakfast with the Bank and from third party events run by other organizations.

The Surrey Food Bank supports 250 families a day. They dole out fresh produce to all the needy. Farmers and large food producers wishing to donate fresh produce are also encouraged to call Lisa S, Logistics Manager at 604-581-5443, Fax Fax: 604-588-8697 loc.105 to either arrange for pickup or your delivery of a donation to their depot.

The unique selling point [USP] of this charitable organization is they do not receive core government funding. This organization is managing free regular input with the help of noble and regular donations from “Givers” which include mega retail food stores.

It will not be out of place to mention that Volunteers are quintessential to their success. We depend on volunteers for many different functions; everything from sorting and distributing food to representing us at community events. Due to our volunteer involvement, we save money on costs and are able to direct more of our donations to purchasing or managing food, Kuldip.

Hats off to the Think Tank:

The Surrey Food Bank Society is run by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors. The Board oversees the Executive Director, staff and volunteers who manage the day-to-day operation of the food bank.

The Surrey Food Bank is a member of Food Banks Canada and abides by their Code of Ethics. The Surrey Food Bank Society is an incorporated society (S-18272) in B.C. and a registered charity with Canada Revenue Agency (13216-8162-RR0001).

When I left the Whalley location, after a brief tour, the following words were knocking on cockles of my heart.


Prof. Surinder Kochhar (Shaun)
LPN, FCN, M.Com, CAIIB, DIM A freelance writer with 36 Years Exp. A Health Coach of University of Victoria