As we move into the fall of 2020, we know that our world has changed and the future remains uncertain. It has been a challenging year, but we also know that the need for food security and other basic living necessities for many British Columbia children and their families will be greater than ever.
The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund will be starting our 10th annual Adopt-a-School campaign this fall knowing that there are more heartbreaking stories out there of public school children living without basics such as food, clothing and security.
We also know that Vancouver Sun readers — who since 1981 have supported the fund’s charitable work and the programs that we provide to help needy children — will continue to help us improve this situation. We are grateful for that, and for the opportunity to make a difference.
Which is why we are once again asking for your support.
The amount donated isn’t important, because every penny we receive — 100 per cent of donations — goes directly to help children in need. In fact, as little as $3 can feed a child one nutritious meal, which in turn helps the child and teaching professionals improve attendance, participation in class and the ability to learn.
The past 12 months have certainly been an unusual time for The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund, along with the rest of the world. The Adopt-a-School 2019/2020 campaign received nearly $1 million in donations large and small from generous Vancouver Sun readers to help ensure many of B.C.’s needy children received support from various programs. From this campaign, Adopt-a-School approved more than 110 grants and dispersed funds totalling over $900,000, the majority to support food programs in public schools all over B.C.
In March 2020, the fund’s board of directors realized that the closure of schools due to the coronavirus pandemic would be a problem for many of the neediest families who rely on the school breakfasts and lunches. So we liquidated $100,000 from our investments, set up a COVID-19 Emergency Fund and once again asked readers for help.
We didn’t know how much would be needed, how schools would respond to the crisis or how programs could be delivered with everyone in lockdown — we just knew that we had to help, and trusted that a way would be found.
And it was. Readers responded, and schools, school boards and community groups overcame the impediments and found various solutions to continue providing food security for hundreds of students and their families.
Between March and August 2020, Adopt-a-School’s special COVID-19 fund raised and disbursed more than $750,000 in grants. Everyone along the chain worked quickly to find solutions, and our first grant payment was made within 15 days of setting up the fund.
A huge thank you goes out to everyone involved, from donating, to organizing programs on the fly, to cooking meals, to delivering groceries and prepared meals to families, to providing child care and support for front line workers. It was a massive undertaking and we are proud and grateful to have been able to help facilitate help for so many families.
And now, school is back, and so is Adopt-a-School.
Please join us in continuing our goal in ensuring that no child goes to school hungry or without the basics to ensure their best start in life.