“Being able to give back to those in need in the communities we serve is paramount to London Drugs. Especially this year, we want to do as much as we possibly can to make the holidays brighter for families and for those who are most vulnerable in our communities.” — Edwin Chang, London Drugs store manager
Social distancing kept the crew of London Drugs employees delivering gifts to Surrey’s Old Yale Road elementary school from receiving any up-close, heartfelt thanks from students and teachers.
But the large signs the children held up thanking them from afar more than made up for it.
“We really appreciated that,” said London Drugs spokesperson Jacky Kane. ”Every year I look forward to the special messages of thanks the kids have waiting for us. It touches my heart.”
Hundreds of gifts and essentials were delivered to a number of Lower Mainland schools last week as part of London Drugs annual commitment to The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School (AAS) campaign.
The gifts were distributed to inner city schools which have high levels of students living in poverty.
In Surrey, pallets of gifts went to Old Yale Road and to the school district’s WRAParound program which cares for the most at-risk youth in the city.
Other deliveries were made to the Coquitlam Alternative Basic Education centre (CABE), which includes a number of student mothers caring for babies and two alternative school programs in Sir Charles Tupper Secondary in Vancouver.
Kane said the items were chosen after consultation with the schools.
But instead of being brought into the school the delivery crew dropped containers outside.
“The deliveries included daily essentials; tooth paste, tooth brushes, dental floss, toilet paper, shampoos, soap, deodorant, socks, toques and gloves,” she said.
“We provided toys for younger children, beauty products for teenagers, grooming products for males and females, books, blankets and baby needs for CABE,” said Kane.
They even brought a stroller for a CABE mother.
Edwin Chang, London Drugs store manager, said the company has “been a proud partner of The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-A-School program since it began in 2011.”
“Being able to give back to those in need in the communities we serve is paramount to London Drugs. Especially this year, we want to do as much as we possibly can to make the holidays brighter for families and for those who are most vulnerable in our communities.
“We know it means so much to these schools and kids to receive gifts at Christmas — even the basics like new crayons or hair ties, toques and gloves and fun nail polish and cosmetics for the teens.
“Thank you to everyone at Adopt-A-School for finding a safe way for London Drugs to continue to deliver the gifts this year.”
Joe Leibovitch, principal of Old Yale Road, thanked the company for helping children at his school.
“Once again the generosity and altruism of both The Vancouver Sun and London Drugs have brought the Christmas spirit to Old Yale Road elementary,” he said.
Dozens of teachers and staff sorted through the delivery.
“There are toys, hygiene products, even new batteries to give to students who are receiving Christmas hampers and for other students who need them regularly,” Leibovitch said.
“Every little bit helps over the holidays and while a hair brush or feminine hygiene product seems small to some it is something huge for our students.
“Thank you to The Vancouver Sun and London Drugs for truly being a partner in supporting our students.”
Sarah McKay, the head of the Safe Schools team which operates the Wrap program, said the items would be “a huge help” to students and families the team is supporting.
“Again London Drugs have provided us with some incredibly generous and useful items that we can give to youth and families in need.
“With a wide range of toiletries and self-care products we can put together some very meaningful care packages that will allow our families to feel even a little pampered over the holidays.
“This is a huge help for our department when it comes to providing for the families we work with all during school closures. It has a great impact,” said McKay.
The schools and programs that received the London Drugs items are all being helped by the AAS campaign which provides grants to feed and clothe children as well as supplying funds that can be used by teachers to get impoverished families through financial emergencies.
Since 2011 the AAS program has distributed more than $6.5 million in poverty relief to schools across the province.
This year more than 100 schools are seeking almost $1 million in grants from AAS to feed children and aid families suffering through poverty as well as unemployment due to COVID-19.
By Gerry Bellett (firstname.lastname@example.org)