Parkside Centennial Elementary School is operating a mini grocery store for hungry families amid COVID-19. (Jennifer Fuller/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Parkside Elementary opens free mini grocery store amid COVID-19

Initiative being done by Aldergrove school to keep students and their families fed during closures

Parkside Centennial Elementary is feeding hungry families in Langley with the instillation of a free mini grocery store.

Jenn Fuller, a child and youth care worker at Parkside, is one of the volunteers responsible for the program and said the idea was to further other programs that were struggling to reach families during COVID-19.

“We are excited that the free mini grocery store initiative allows us to be to further support our families as well as continue to build our community and family connections,” Fuller said.

The Langley School District Foundation had previously committed to provide $50 gift cards every week to the more than 600 families within the school district who need help.

Though the revamped Food for Thought Program received donations to provide gift cards, Fuller said more needed to be done to ensure meals that would no longer reach students through The Breakfast Club and the Star Fish Backpack program, could be offered for families.

Fuller said inspiration came from Lindsay Romas, a staff member at Shortreed Community School, started a daily grab and go lunch program that was offered to Aldergrove families.

READ MORE: Langley School District Foundation gifted Eclipse Cross to further food program reach

“Each week looks different, as what we can offer our families depends on the weekly donations we receive. We do consistently receive bread and baked goods from Sources each week,” Fuller said. “We also received a variety of fresh pantry items from Kim’s Angels, and have had a donation of produce from the Heppell’s Potato Corporation.”

Fuller said Parkside is still seeking donations of non-perishable items and those that are easy for children and families to make.

Cereal’s, soups, pasta, rice, juice, sauces were just some of the foods she names, as well as gift certificates which allows the school to purchase specific items for families.

“We would not be able to have our free mini grocery store or be able to provide our families with this extra support if it wasn’t for our community partners that have come together to help us in supporting our families,” Fuller added.

Parkside Centennial Elementary is located at 3300 270 St in Aldergrove and people are encouraged to come by and use the service if they are in need.

They are open Wednesday 12 to 3 p.m., Thursday and Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for shopping.

People can visit https://parkside.sd35.bc.ca for more on the school and how to get in contact for a donation.

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Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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