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More angels needed to stop growing problem
Kim Snow is on the front lines every day – helped out by her "Angels" — witnessing a level of poverty in Langley that few people are aware exists.
Through her volunteer work, providing food, diapers and toys to struggling new moms, helping to feed and clothe the needy coming to St. Joseph's soup kitchen, and furnishing apartments for those who have nothing, Snow is becoming concerned about the lack of help available for Langley's most vulnerable people.
"We don't sit in our offices and wonder what goes on in our community. We are there on the streets, talking to the people that want to be part of our community and make a difference," she said.
When she isn't volunteering her time to help those in need, Snow runs a hair salon in Langley.
"Team Angels drives around and talks to the less fortunate and the stories they tell break your heart. They just want a second chance and we all deserve one."
In a few short months, Kimz Angels has furnished apartments for 12 people who were provided housing from the government but had no bed to sleep on or couch to sit on. Snow put out the call using social media for furniture, microwaves, dishes, etc., and the community responded, she said.
Often the people she helps are starting over after finally finding subsidized housing, but have nothing to fill the home with, she said.
The requests for help come in daily from moms whose cupboards are bare, to school principals who want to help feed their students so they can concentrate.
There are the elderly whose fridges have nothing inside, she said. There are the homeless, pushing shopping carts, struggling with mental illness.
"These are the realities in Langley and I think there are a lot of people who don't want to see it," said Snow. "I don't think people realize how bad it is in Langley."
Langley Secondary principal Dawne Tomlinson agrees.
"It's really a sad thing. Our community doesn't understand the amount of poverty in Langley. It's great to help others in need in other countries, but we need to start helping in our own backyard too," said Tomlinson.
She deals with the need of hungry, poor and homeless youth who attend her school.
"Kimz Angels has been great. I will text Kim because there is a student who has holes in his shoes and no winter jacket, and she is there the next day with a jacket and new shoes," she said.
Snow is calling on Langley residents to do what they can to help out and to call on the government to do more as well.
"I want to be part of the solution," she said.
"It started with my mom, God rest her soul, who taught me to always make a difference. I want to carry that on for her," she said.
But what she is seeing in Langley is starting to frustrate her.
"There are too many mentally ill, living on the streets, with no supports. Too many kids going hungry with parents that aren't getting enough help. Too many Band-Aid solutions," she said.
She works directly with Best Babies, St. Joseph's Church and the principals at several schools, all of whom call her when there is a need.
Snow drives around in a white pickup truck with her Kimz Angels logo on it. B&B Contracting bought the truck, any many others have sponsored it, so that Snow is able to pick up furniture from people and bring pallets of food. Before she had the truck, she relied on others to pick up and drop off large items.
Snow started her grassroots charity work in Langley more than five years ago. Now she is a well known fixture around the churches, the Gateway of Hope, on the streets and at Best Babies.
She relies on her group of angels, or puts a call out for help through emails and Facebook, asking for volunteers to help move furniture or requests from the high schools, when there is a need.
Recently, she asked for grad dress shoes from local high schools. Her angels replied, offering up high heels and flats which Snow personally picks up from each person.
There is no big operation, no staff, and no office.
"That way we just focus on helping, no red tape."
She is passionate about helping and more determined than ever.
"I want to thank all the people that call and email and donate. There are so many good-hearted people in our community. Without people like you, we can't go out and make a difference," said Snow.
Currently, Snow is looking for winter jackets for five to 12-year-olds, for students in need at Douglas Park Community School.
She is also hosting her bi-annual fill the ambulance day on Dec. 21 and 22 at the IGA in Murrayville. They will be looking for baby food, diapers, juice boxes, fruit cups and more.
But these are things she needs all year round, too, she said.
People can help sponsor one of the many families she helps. Not just for the holidays, but long-term. Anyone who wants to know more, wants to help, or has items to donate, is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.