Andrew Merry, principal at Mission Central Elementary, with some of the food that was donated for 28 families at the school. (Submitted photo)

Almost $2,000 in gift cards and food raised for Mission families

About 30 families supported from Mission Central Elementary

Thanks to the support of local businesses, individuals and families, almost 30 local families recently received a total of $2,000 in gift cards and food.

The initiative began when Lesa Lacey, who has been dropping off food to local schools since 2012, received a call from Andrew Merry, principal at Mission Central Elementary, to see if more could be done to help families at the school.

Lacey, business manager at Lacey Construction, first started her support with Deroche Elementary. This year, before the pandemic, she dropped off food to 60 children in Deroche, Dewdney and Mission Central elementary school through Isthmus Canada, a national charity formerly known as Blessings in a Backpack Canada.

The program is similar to Starfish Packs in filling an important gap for families who might need a little extra help on the weekends.

Groups like the Rotary Club, Hope Central and the St. Joseph’s Food Bank are among others helping to meet the needs of local families.

The pandemic resulted in an Isthmus Canada fundraiser being postponed in April, and Lacey said she was overwhelmed with the number of people calling and emailing to see what they could do to continue supporting children in the community.

Lacey said Woodbrook Aggregates, Johnston Meier Insurance and DK Bowins & Associates immediately donated to Isthmus Canada to ensure the program could continue through the spring and into the 2020 fall session of school.

RELATED: New kids’ book helps raise funds for Mission Rotary project

Meanwhile, Mission Central Elementary was supporting 28 families after the planned spring break ended. When Merry called Lacey and word got out about the needs at the school, Lacey said there was an outpouring of support.

The team at Lacey Construction donated funds, and then their families, friends and clients also made donations. All the funds went towards buying non-perishable food and food bank bags at FreshCo.

“FreshCo was instrumental in helping us get food to the schools. Laureen and others at Mission FreshCo went out of their way to ensure I had what I needed to drop off weekly,” Lacey said.

She said it all added up to $200 a week, in addition to the regular Isthmus Canada dropoffs.

The food donations have been dropped off on Wednesdays, with educational assistants and administrators working at a physical distance to get food dropped off to family doorsteps.

In addition, Isthmus Canada had a grant that allowed gift cards of $40 for each of the 28 families, and Hello Fresh dropped off additional meal kits for the families.

RELATED: Future is an unknown for Mission food banks

Emma’s Acres helped with bread donations via Cobb’s Breads, and more donations came in, with a final week’s dropoff of over $2,000 in food and gift cards – filling up four vehicles for dropoffs on Wednesday, June 24.

“Every week was so heartwarming and fulfilling,” Lacey said. “It makes me so proud to live in such a generous and thoughtful community.”

She offered special thanks to the following individuals and families who supported the cause: Cassidy, Marlena Farms, the Jonker family, the Carrier family, the Grypiuk family, Claire Seymour, the Mackinnon family, Tanya Soon, Dawn Hein, Erik Lacey and two anonymous families in Lake Errock and Mission.

Lacey said that when school starts up again in September, local residents can support more food for families in Mission through the following agencies: Hope Central, the Salvation Army, Isthmus Canada, Starfish Packs, Rotary Clubs of Mission and St. Joseph’s Food Bank.

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A collage shows the food that was purchased from FreschCo in Mission in support of 28 families at Mission Central Elementary. (Submitted photo)

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