A Fraser Valley business owner with a long history of supporting worthy community projects has been honoured with an award of distinction for his role in the Aldergrove Starfish Pack program.
Unitex Sales owner Bob Johnson was presented with a Rotary District Governor’s citation this week at a special ceremony. Johnson was recognized not only for his firm’s significant support of the Abbotsford Starfish Pack program, but also for supporting neighbouring communities and Rotary clubs that have introduced the Starfish Pack Program, including Aldergrove.
The Starfish Pack Program provides two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks for local school children in need to take home every weekend during the school year. Started in Abbotsford in 2013 in a single school for six students, the program has expanded into Aldergrove, Chilliwack, Langley and Coquitlam with a number of other B.C. communities working towards starting their own programs.
Today, over 430 students in 33 schools are provided the weekend backpack in the five participating communities. Fifty backpacks are delivered weekly in three schools in Aldergrove alone.
Unitex Sales not only provided all the backpacks used in the program at cost, but has also donated hundreds of backpacks free of charge to each of the Starfish Pack communities. Rotary District Governor Bill Robson made the presentation to Johnson on behalf of all Rotary clubs which have benefited from Johnson’s generosity.
“Bob Johnson’s significant support of Rotary and specifically the Starfish Packs, not only in Aldergrove but in other B.C. communities, has allowed multiple Rotary Clubs in District 5050 to save tens of thousands of dollars. [His] contributions are extremely worthy of district recognition,” said Robson.
Bev Dornan, President of the Aldergrove Rotary Club, also thanked Bob and Unitex for their generous partnership in the Starfish program.
“In the Aldergrove area, we are providing support to 50-plus children with backpacks of food during the school term and this support goes a long way to make this happen,” said Dornan.
In accepting the award, Johnson shared a challenge he received from the leaders of the Aboriginal communities; “Bob, do things in a good way.”
Johnson said he believes the Rotary Clubs of Aldergrove and other communities are “doing things in a good way and is proud to be part of this great endeavor.”
Johnson had previously spoken of growing up in poverty himself and knowing even as a small child that “a small gesture can make a huge difference in the life of a family that’s struggling.”
Johnson concluded his acceptance of the District Governor’s Citation by announcing another donation of free backpacks to allow the program to expand further. He challenged other local businesses to get involved in the Starfish program.
To find out more, visit www.starfishpack.com and www.aldergrovestarfish.ca
Chartered in 1990, Aldergrove Rotary Club is one of 32,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide. Aldergrove’s 33 members meet Friday mornings for breakfast to enjoy the camaraderie of friendship and business networking coupled with a mutual desire to create a positive impact locally and around the world. They have raised over $1.2 million to support local and international projects, including Youth Adventures in Leadership, educational materials for ACSS, the Summer Learning Program, Playgrounds for North Otter Elementary School, the Starfish Backpack Program, international scholarships, water wells in Nepal and the Polio Plus Program, to name a few.
The core strength of the Rotary Club is fellowship. Come be their guest for breakfast and learn how you can find friends and make a difference in your community and the world. They meet at the White Spot in the Best Western Hotel, 264th and Fraser Highway every Friday morning from 7:10 to 8:10 a.m.
For more information on Rotary Club of Aldergrove, visit the website at www.clubrunner.ca/aldergrove