Aldergrove food bank assistant manager Tannis Percival (left) and manager Mary van Zuuk (right) stand among hundreds of recent donations to the centre. The food bank offers groceries to struggling families and the homeless in Aldergrove. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove food bank assistant manager Tannis Percival (left) and manager Mary van Zuuk (right) stand among hundreds of recent donations to the centre. The food bank offers groceries to struggling families and the homeless in Aldergrove. (Submitted photo)

Aldergrove food bank winter donations ‘blow away’ volunteer managers

Aldergrove businesses and shoppers step up to feed the hungry in the community

Generosity from people and local businesses of Aldergrove has filled store rooms at the local food bank to the brim with nutritious donations.

Mary van Zuuk, manager of the Aldergrove food bank inside Vineyard Church (27309 Fraser Hwy.), said that 2019 was the first year she’d ever seen anything like it – the sheer amount of food hampers and gifts that poured into the centre.

“It’s blowing me away,” van Zuuk – food bank manager since August 2018 – told the Aldergrove Star.

“Our homeless count keeps growing in Aldergrove (according to food assistance applications) and with more young families moving in,” Van Zuuk maintained that the need for food security is great.

“People are growing in awareness of that,” van Zuuk added.

Stores share wealth

Local businesses in Aldergrove have also stepped up this year to help.

Since FreshCo opened its doors just down the road from the food bank it has introduced a program where locals can buy food hampers for those in need in the community. The store has pre-packaged $5 or $10 bags that customers can purchase.

People can also buy food of their own choice and place into their donation bin.

Since the store’s opening in November, van Zuuk reports an average of 50 new hampers on their doorstep twice a week.

The manager estimates that – in total – over $1,000 worth in food has been sent over from FreshCo, thanks to gracious shoppers who went out of their way to purchase food hampers this winter.

Cafe and used book store Book ‘N’ Bean and owner Alana O’Connor donated over $1,000 to the food bank in late December. It was all the money out of the cafe’s tip jar in 2019, and a year’s worth of customers.

Last winter, the store donated the same amount.

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And that’s not all.

The new Starbucks, which opened up at 26361 Fraser Hwy., in March, donates all of its day-old baking to the Aldergrove food bank.

Otter Co-op does as well.

Canopy Growth, owners of the 1.3 million-square-foot marijuana growing facility near 264th Street and 4th Avenue, presented the Langley and Aldergrove food banks with a combined cheque for $5,000 in December.

“For us, that covers the next 10 months of rent,” Van Zuuk said giddily.

That’s not to mention the food bank fundraisers that Coghlan Fundamental and Shortreed Elementaries, along with Aldergrove Community Secondary School put together this winter for the food bank.