Kim Langford has a network of local farms, including Aldor Acres, that take bread and produce that is no longer suitable for people so it doesn’t go to waste. (Langford photo)

Kim Langford has a network of local farms, including Aldor Acres, that take bread and produce that is no longer suitable for people so it doesn’t go to waste. (Langford photo)

Hero in Education: Above & Beyond

Langley City administrative assistant finds food builds bonds with students and families

Kim Langford used to work in banking and accounting. She finds a better rate of return in education

Kim Langford wants to fill hungry tummies, be they children, adults or even animals.

She is the administrative assistant at Douglas Park Community School but took on a lot more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have always had a breakfast and lunch program at our school,” explained principal Diana Wilk. “When schools shut down in the spring, Kim was concerned about feeding our kids. She spearheaded our Grab & Go breakfast and lunch program, organizing the menu and volunteers, ordering food, shopping and communicating with our families.”

But the pandemic didn’t end. So Langford stepped up her game.

• READ MORE: ‘So much more than feeding kids’ for Langley school lunch program

“As we moved towards June, it was evident that our community was in need of more support. Kim helped to organize and run a food bank in our school gym twice a week, while also continuing the Grab & Go program. Sources Food Bank delivered food to the school, and Kim sourced out other donations of food and household items for the food bank.”

The nomination as a Langley Advance Times Hero in Education came courtesy of her principal who has a front-row seat to not only Langford’s efforts within the school but also her impact in the community.

“She is the heart of our school, the first person to greet you with a smile. She has a huge heart and always helps out in any way she can,” Wilk said.

“Kim has supported our community without judgment, and with care and respect for everyone,” Wilk added.

When the school had extra food, it didn’t go to waste. Langford would deliver pre-made bundles to the homeless people in the neighbourhood and also to nearby Brogan’s Diner which provides food to people who can’t afford it.

“When there was an abundance of extra produce or bread, Kim delivered it to a local farm to feed the animals,” Wilk added.

She’s built relationships with some local farmers and their animals have received bread products or produce that have gone off and can’t be fed to people.

“Nothing goes to waste at the food program,” Langford stressed.

The nomination as a Hero in Education was not expected.

“I was embarrassed and shocked,” she admitted when she found out.

• READ MORE: Langley’s inner city elementary feeds a need with mobile food bank

But she remains focused on the best parts of her job.

“The kids keep me going, seeing their successes, their growth and their smiles,” Langford said. “It’s been amazing to watch the kids over the last four years and see all the positive changes in them.

Langford has worked for the Langley School District for eight years, half of them at Douglas Park Community Elementary and always in the clerical side. Before that, she worked in the banking and accounting fields.

Now her interest grows not from dollars and cents but from learning.

“I think my role has evolved over the years to supporting the community more. My passion is the kids, the families and this community, it warms my heart to be able to help them. I find that when you do one thing it is continually opening more doors and opportunities. I think it is important to teach our students to give back, giving back does not have to be monetary. We do what we can at our school to make this happen.”

It was being around students that showed her the need for the food programs.

“There are so many kids and families that go hungry,” she commented. “I have heard stories from a student about mixing chocolate syrup and eggnog together to feed him and his little brother to eat as that is all that was in the cupboard. No family in Canada should go hungry, especially children, food and nutrition play such an important role in children’s growth, both physically and mentally.”

And during the challenging times brought on by COVID-19, Langford is the kind of person who looks for the silver lining.

“It has allowed me to connect with families on a more personal level, running the Grab n’ Go program and the food bank over the summer gave me the opportunity to build a relationship with the families, hear their stories and offer supports, or just be an ear to listen to them talk. I have learned a lot about our community and their needs,” she commented.

MORE EDUCATION HEROES

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• Langley teacher finds new ways to keep the music playing during COVID

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Kim Langford is the first person most people encounter as they enter Douglas Park Community Elementary. The administrative assistant is has been chosen as a Langley Advance Times Education Hero for all the work she does at the school and within the community. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)

Kim Langford is the first person most people encounter as they enter Douglas Park Community Elementary. The administrative assistant is has been chosen as a Langley Advance Times Education Hero for all the work she does at the school and within the community. (Heather Colpitts/Langley Advance Times)