Child poverty is an issue all across the world, including our own community.
Weekend Fuelbag is a charity program started by three students in the Langley School District. In September 2016, Brady, Katrina, and Emma introduced an organization geared towards helping fellow students in their own neighbourhood.
It began one day when Katrina learned that a friend of hers was going home on the weekends knowing he wouldn’t eat anything for dinner on Saturday and Sunday other than a Cliff bar. With the help of her cousin, Brady, and sister, Emma, the three of them looked into helping these students in need. Many families live paycheck to paycheck, and the children are often deprived of necessities like food. Since there are no school run programs to help students on the weekends, kids were going hungry right in our own backyards.
Thus, a solution was created. Weekend Fuelbag began with 16 students at three local schools: Yorkson Creek Middle School, Walnut Grove Secondary, and RE Mountain. With the need increasing, the three students began knocking on companies’ doors asking for donations. When a major donor unfortunately had to stop providing food, Brady, Emma, and Katrina turned to the media for help. Many stepped up to offer assistance, including A&A Custom Brokers, IGA, Save-On-Foods, Special Risk Insurance Managers, CUPE 403, and local PACs. Within a short time, Weekend Fuelbag grew from 16 bags to 80, and continues to expand today.
The process appeared simple to the average observer. Each week, food would be picked up or delivered to RE Mountain Secondary and the three founders would begin packing. Recruiting friends to volunteer their time, bags would be made up in a local IGA store and at RE Mountain and delivered to each of the schools signed for the program. Behind the scenes however, Brady, Katrina, and Emma spent their time attending meetings, talking with companies, and putting together bags full of groceries for those who needed it most.
This summer, Katrina and Emma’s family moved to Ontario.Without them, Brady needed a more sustainable method to keep Weekend Fuelbag up and running. Together with his sister and a few friends, they took on the challenge of creating and establishing a new approach. A leadership class at each school was to pack their own bags, and Save-On- Foods to deliver the bag contents to the individual schools.
It was a route that required many to recognize the need in the community, and through rounded agreement Brady placed his new plan into action.
Weekend Fuelbag has helped many students throughout Langley and because the program is anonymous often there is no feedback from families. However there is one story that was passed along. A student from a single parent family was struggling with their parent being terminally ill. The food they received each weekend helped the family through this difficult time. Donations not only help people living in low-income households but also those in tough situations.
From a small idea to an expanding charity, Weekend Fuelbag is an organization run by students for students, encouraging many to lend a helping hand!