Sidoo family steps up for Maple Ridge Secondary

Sidoo family steps up for Maple Ridge Secondary

When Jordan Sidoo was 14 years old he would sell pen and pencil sets to his friends to raise money for The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School campaign.

Seven years later he’s a director of the Sidoo family’s charitable foundation with his brother Dylan, 24.

And on Wednesday the brothers wrote a $15,000 cheque to AAS to be used to feed lunch to students attending Maple Ridge Secondary.

Earlier this week The Sun ran a story on the problems the school was having feeding about 30 students coming to school without food or money to buy lunch.

Special education teacher Eileen Stover had said that community donations to feed these students had dwindled and the school was struggling to find money to buy them lunch in the cafeteria where a full meal costs $5.

The best they could do was provide them a partial meal for $2.

“If we feed someone it shows we care about them — it’s fundamental,” said Stover. “The most important thing for kids is to feel somebody cares. Food is caring, it really is,” she said.

The school had originally asked for $10,000 to keep the program operating but The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund board — which oversees AAS — said it would try and raise $15,000 so that the students could get a full meal at least once a week (AAS also provides the money needed for a breakfast program that runs twice a week.)

Dylan said he and Jordan read the story and were affected by the plight of the teacher and her students.

“I understand the importance of giving and the unique opportunities it provides. We feel it’s our duty to give back to the community and the Maple Ridge secondary story spoke volumes to me,” Dylan said.

“Food is a necessity for all children not just a few.”

His brother said that it was just as important to spread the word about hungry children in British Columbia’s schools.

“When people hear the words ‘malnourished or hungry’ they associate it with some third world country without realizing it’s happening in our own backyard,” said Jordan.

“Giving is important but it’s just as important to spread the word. Me and Dylan have a lot of friends.  We are going to be talking to them about this,” he said.

Their parents — former CFL footballer David Sidoo and his wife, Manjy — have helped AAS from the beginning as well as other worthy causes through the Sidoo Family Giving Foundation.

David Sidoo is a successful investment banker and businessman and is a recipient of the Order of British Columbia for his philanthropy, a member of the B.C. Football Hall of Fame, and on the board of governors at UBC.

He set up the 13th Man Foundation which helped save the UBC football program after its funding was threatened.

“The year my dad did that UBC won the Vanier Cup,” said Jordan who attends the University of California and works part time for the San Francisco 49ers in their business operations department.

Dylan who graduated from the University of Southern California is starting up a company that encrypts emails to ensure security and privacy.

Now their parents have turned over the running of the family’s foundation to them.

They have set up the Breakfast Club of B.C. Foundation which will be used to raise money for AAS.

“We want to do this year after year,” said Dylan.

“One family can only do so much,” said Jordan. “we hope others will step forward because we are a first-world country and this shouldn’t be happening.”

By Gerry Bellett (gbellett@gmail.com)

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