Student founders of the Weekend Fuelbag program appeared on CKNW to talk about the need for sponsors. From left: Brady Lumsden

Refueled: program to feed hungry students overflows with support

Weekend Fuelbag program has been saved by influx of new sponsors

A week has made all the difference for the Langley student leaders trying to rescue a program that feeds hungry kids.

Weekend Fuelbag had lost its main sponsor and was about to run out of food.

The program, created by students Brady Lumsden and Katrina and Emma Schulz, helps 16 middle and high school students at R.E. Mountain Secondary, Walnut Grove Secondary and Yorkson Creek Middle School by providing a free food bag to take home on Fridays for nourishment over the weekend.

Each bag has two breakfasts, two lunches, drinks and snacks to tide the students over the weekend and are picked up confidentially at the school.

Several businesses, including Lee’s Market in Fort Langley, Costco, Safeway, and Cobb’s made one-time donations, but the key sponsor was Buy-Low Foods in Walnut Grove.

And that store was about to close.

“We totally understood why Buy-Low couldn’t continue to support our program,” said Lumsden, a Grade 10 student at Walnut Grove Secondary School.

“But we knew we needed some help right away since the students in the program were relying on us.”

The one-time donations of food cards from other businesses had also been used up.

So the students went public, appealing for assistance. They sent a press release to the Times and other newspapers, and appeared on radio stations CKNW and Rock 101.

The response was “amazing” said Schulz, a Grade 12 student at R.E. Mountain Secondary School.

“It was such a crazy (but good) week.”

Offers of help began flooding in.

A&A Customs Brokers said they would donate $200 a week for a year to make sure the program continues.

The Langley School District Foundation has also pledged support and, as a bonus, will be able to issue tax receipts to people for donations over $25.

Shoes For Kids provided a $250 IGA gift card and Wendel’s True Foods, the Clipper Street Scrapbook company and Sources Food Bank stepped up.

The Township of Langley firefighters, Silverman Mortgage, and Robles Real Estate also came on board to help with Weekend Fuelbag.

Walnut Grove IGA offered fresh fruit, there was a private monthly donation from Jesse Johnstone, and Lee’s Market was willing to continue its support.

And then Buy-Low Foods, the original sponsor, called.

The Brookswood store was willing to help and interested in expanding the program.

“They want to continue to help us out of their south Langley location and want us to start the Weekend Fuelbag at Brookswood,” Schulz said.

“So, we have to work out some details and hopefully with help from students at Brookswood,  we will try to get a program up and running there in the next few weeks.”

She said the program was contacted by a Surrey resident to ask for pointers on how the program could start in that city.

“Our new goals are pretty simple,” said Schulz.

“We want to first expand the program in our school. Make sure every student that needs it is signed up. Secondly we want to make our food bags as nutritious as possible. With the help of Walnut Grove IGA, we are now providing fresh fruit every single week. And thirdly, we want to expand our program to other schools.”

If you want to donate to the Weekend Fuelbag program, email weekendfuelbag@shaw.ca or visit their Twitter and Facebook pages (@weekendfuelbag).

Donations for Weekend Fuelbag can now be accepted online through Langley School District Foundation (www.langleyschooldistrictfoundation.com) but donors must put “For Weekend Fuelbag” in the comments section.

Tax receipts will be issued for donations over $25.