In a first-of-its-kind partnership amongst four community organizations, families at the Kinsmen Park Place housing project will receive a back-to-school surprise at the end of this month.
The housing project, located at 27402 34 Ave. in Aldergrove, is home to many single-parent households, said property manager of 29 years Leslie Geddies.
“Our tenants have several kids and have to fight through the back-to-school season, already struggling financially,” Geddes explained.
As of Aug. 1, townhouses within the complex are home to 50 families – and among them that accounts for 91 school-aged children.
Rent is subsidized by the provincial government, through BC Housing, in order for low-income families to be able to make rent, Geddes confirmed.
Windword Ministries outreach coordinator Tamara Smith, an Aldergrove resident, faces the “overwhelming” responsibility of providing for three children as a single mother in the months before school.
“We’d get the notice for all the things they needed… inside shoes, outside shoes – sometimes three pairs of shoes. And with everything else, it was such a stressful time of year,” Smith admitted.
In light of this, Smith and four other Aldergrove community groups – Windword Ministries, Royal Canadian Legion’s Aldergrove branch, Langley RCMP, and the Vineyard Christian Fellowship – which doubles as a food bank every Tuesday – plan to come alongside the Kinsmen families and “over-the-top bless them,” before their kids return to school.
The legion announced a $1,000 contribution to the initiative on Tuesday.
Smith and the outreach coordinator of the Vineyard, Lizzie Scott, plan to purchase essential supplies for the Aldergrove families with money donated from the four community groups.
The two women met nearly a year ago when landscaping for families in the housing project.
“We’ve been coming to the complex and doing simple practical services like picking up garbage,” Smith said.
“We want them to feel really good about where they live.”
The newly-formed coalition is seeking donations of school supplies, including non-marking children’s running shoes, backpacks, money, and other educational essentials.
Donations can be dropped off at either the Aldergrove Community Police Office (26970 Fraser Hwy.) or the local legion (26607 Fraser Hwy.) up until the first week of Sept.
A private “surprise” barbecue will then be held at the complex, during which time Kinsmen parents and children will be presented with the supplies.