Among the first responders to The Vancouver Sun’s plea for money for impoverished children facing hunger now school meals are no longer available, were Henrik and Daniel Sedin and their wives Johanna and Marinette.
The 39-year-old brothers and their wives have pledged $35,000 in matching funds to The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School COVID-19 appeal.
This week The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund liquidated $100,000 from it’s emergency reserve to distribute to teachers now scrambling to find ways to feed these children. The fund will support efforts such as those in Nanaimo where teachers are planning to deliver food to children.
Similarly In Surrey where members of the school district’s Safe Schools team have been visiting homes of the most vulnerable families distributing supermarket food vouchers.
All schools in the province have been closed and so food — breakfast, lunch and snacks — that poor families rely upon to feed their children isn’t available.
Since last September The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund has distributed $900,000 to schools to feed and clothe needy children. Most of it has been spent but the meals that money was to provide until school ended won’t be served.
It’s a grim reality but many families living on social assistance or minimum wage jobs can’t feed their children and pay rent. This newspaper has chronicled this misery since it began financing school meals in 2011 using money raised from the Adopt A School campaign.This situation is now much worse as many people have lost jobs.
When asked to help, the Sedin’s response was immediate. They would.
“Although our initial wish was to provide for things like school trips and after-hours programs they won’t be happening for a while,” said Henrik.
“In the meantime the need for food takes priority.”
Daniel said: “It’s time for all of us to help each other in whatever way we can. We’re fortunate and grateful to have the opportunity to do something for the community.
“We are hoping others — with the ability to help — will join us and see the need to feed these families,” said Daniel.
“Is there anything else we can do?”
There isn’t enough space in this story to outline all that the Sedins have done for B.C. families during the time the brothers played for the Vancouver Canucks and since their retirement.
The hashtag for the Sedin Family Foundation — #communityisateamsport — couldn’t be more apt.
Their concern for impoverished children and families mirrors accounts that are appearing in the international press about other famous sports stars donating money to help the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One example is the NBA’s Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and his wife, Ayesha, who have donated money to the Alameda County Food Bank and Feeding America in Oakland,Calif.
Their on-line tweet saying why they are doing it differs only from the Sedin’s in geography.
“Oakland is closing schools bc of COVID-19. We support this decision but are concerned a/b the 1,800+kids that rely on schools for 2+meals daily.@eatlearnplay is donating to @ACCFB to ensure every child has access to the food they need. Join us and donate.”
Vancouver Sun/Province editor in chief Harold Munro who is the chair of The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund board said it was imperative the plight of these children and families should not be overlooked during the upheaval caused by the pandemic.
“We have to stay safe, be responsible but also be ready to help each other,” said Munro.
“And that means feeding children that will go hungry. I would like to thank the Sedin families for joining with us to do this.”
The Sedin Family Foundation will match readers’ donations to our COVID-19 Emergency Fund, up to $35,000.
By Gerry Bellett (firstname.lastname@example.org)