A Langley food truck owner is throwing down the gauntlet, challenging other truck operators to follow his lead.
Nathen Shandler, owner of Beljam’s Waffles, cooked up close to 200 waffles Monday morning, serving up breakfast fresh off the grill to children at Langley Meadows Community Elementary.
The school runs a breakfast club every morning before classes. It’s not restricting it to just under privileged kids, but any students in the school looking for a meal or social interaction. It typically attracting two to three dozen students a day, and includes access to the gym for supervised play, between 8 to 8:40 a.m., explained coordinator Joanne Robinson.
On Monday, however, those hours were extended, as was the guest list, and much of the gym was taken over with extra tables, as was the school library, to make room for all the hungry young children.
This was the second time in as many years that Beljam’s has donated breakfast to Langley Meadows Elementary, and the invite was extended to the breakfast club, plus the school’s Grade 4 and 5 leadership class.
Last year, Beljam’s feed 140 kids. By the end of the breakfast on Monday, Robinson estimated close to 200 children from the school had devoured waffles – most topping theirs with strawberries or apples, whipped cream, and syrup.
“Community support is so important, and we are thrilled to have Beljam’s Waffles prepare breakfast for our students,” said principal Vanessa Jaggi, who was in the library helping serve the meals.
During the winter months, many of the food trucks in the region close down for the season. This normally leads to a lot of extra, leftover ingredients going to waste, Shandler explained.
Well, the Langley businessman, and his wife Sophena, decided to use it up and give back to the community, at the same time.
“We have been blessed with another successful year of operations, and truly wanted to give back to the community, especially going into the holiday season,” Shandler said.
Sophena previously volunteered at Strathcona Elementary on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. She knows the value of what the Breakfast Club of Canada brings to the kids who participate in these breakfast programs.
Shandlers hope all other food trucks in the Lower Mainland will adopt their own breakfast club school and put any extra groceries to good use.
“We hope all the food trucks to follow our lead,” he reiterated, between pouring more batter onto the grills and loading up a tray of freshly made waffles.
He and his wife noted that there are more than 100 food trucks operational in the Lower Mainland each year, and if just a few would give back, it would go a long ways to “sharing a little happiness.”