Posts tagged ‘adopt-a-school’

Boston Bar

Boston Bar school growing own vegetables to feed students

By GERRY BELLETT It may well be the smallest school seeking help from this year’s Adopt-A-School campaign, but the 60-pupil elementary-secondary school here has the biggest ambition. And that is to provide an abundance of vegetables for everyone in the school — especially children whose families are struggling financially — and for the community’s food […]


New tech needed to help hurting kids

By GERRY BELLETT Principal Deena Kotak often relies on the word “complex” when talking about her school and the needs of its children. She is responsible for Lord Beaconsfield Elementary at Penticton and East 20th and its annex — Alderwood Family Development Centre — five blocks away on Kaslo and East 18th. “Complex” is a […]


Hungry children need our help

By GERRY BELLETT Some dangerous childhood conditions can be prevented in seconds: measles, mumps, polio, meningitis, diphtheria. But there’s no inoculation against hunger, no needle in the arm to ward that off. It takes three meals a day to prevent hunger and its companion, misery. Yet for many children living in poverty, three meals in […]

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2000 Children go hungry in Vancouver schools every day; But with board budget cut by $18M this year, there’s no money for extra food services

By Gerry Bellett Despite efforts by the Vancouver school district to feed impoverished children, there are still 2,000 students going hungry every day, according to a district report. And it will cost an estimated $1.7 million to feed them – money the district doesn’t have – says the report from the food services department. The […]

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Who will feed Vancouver’s 2,000 hungry school kids?

By Daphne Bramham There is something deeply wrong in British Columbia and with our government that thousands of children are hungry and school districts are forced to beg private donors for food on their behalf. The Vancouver school district feeds breakfast and lunch to 5,000 elementary and secondary school children every day. But it says […]


Boston Bar’s only school wants to grow food for hungry kids; Principal hopes to fix up greenhouse to supply fresh produce

By Gerry Bellett Spring has come to the coast but up here in the heart of the Fraser Canyon there’s still a winter’s chill on the wind as Debra Devine, principal of the community’s only school, wrestles with an old, rusty lock guarding a broken-down greenhouse. The building – if she could only fix it […]

charlie's closet

Donors help Charlie’s Closet keep Tupper secondary students well dressed

By Gerry Bellet A year ago Charlie’s Closet was almost bare – just two used T-shirts on a rickety clothes rack in a small storage room at Tupper secondary school in east Vancouver. Hardly an inventory to be of much help for impoverished students needing socks, underwear, coats, pants, jackets, shirts or shoes. “We didn’t […]

Irwin Nathanson, right, meets with Grandview Elementary school principal Jason Eng.
Photo by Jason Payne

Lawyers take firm stance on student success at East Vancouver school

Irwin Nathanson, a respected member of the bar, asked a question this week while sitting in the principal’s office of Grandview Elementary that he believes others must be asking, too. The latest child poverty statistics showing 169,420 children in B.C. living below the poverty line was the preamble. “To me, the idea that kids are […]


Grandview Elementary principal has gaps to fill

By Gerry Bellett The witty French diplomat who once observed “We know it works well in practice, but does it work well in theory?” would find a soulmate in Jason Eng, principal of Grandview Elementary. Eng sits in his cramped office at the school on the east side of the city where many of the […]

Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins speaks to the students at Grandview Elementary

Canucks coach visits Adopt-a-School schools to encourage students

By Gerry Bellett A qualified social worker and holder of two teaching degrees, Willie Desjardins has a curious background for a National Hockey League coach. But it showed to good effect Friday in the lunch room of Grandview Elementary School, where in the midst of 160 children, the coach of the Vancouver Canucks looked as […]

The Beedie Group attends a breakfast with students at Douglas Road elementary in Burnaby

Beedie dishes out for Burnaby school kids

The measure of how determined people are to make the world a better place can be defined by what they are prepared to give up. So when teachers at Burnaby’s Douglas Road elementary give up their staff room each morning so children coming to school hungry can sit there while they serve them breakfast, it’s […]

Tracey McVicar and a group of women from the business and financial community have stepped in to pick up the tab for the emergency breakfast program at Edmonds Community School.

Burnaby school breakfast program gets boost from group of businesswomen

By Gerry Bellett In 2011, The Vancouver Sun’s Children’s Fund sent $11,000 to Edmonds Community School to pay for breakfasts for the 45 children coming to school hungry every day. “We’ve just about used up that money,” Mischa Greenwood, the school’s community coordinator, said earlier this week. The Burnaby school had only asked for $8,000 […]


Shelley Fralic: Feeding hungry kids, thanks to Sun readers

By Shelley Fralic Who knew, three years later, that once Vancouver Sun readers began hearing some of those heartbreaking stories, that they would so unselfishly step forward and open both their wallets and their hearts. Maybe teacher Carrie Gelson knew, when she wrote an open letter to Vancouverites in the fall of 2011, frustrated and […]

Admiral Seymour Elementary School’s Carrie Gelson was the teacher who kick-started the Adopt-a-School program with her plea to help feed the hungry kids in her classroom. She is pictured with students in her Grade 3/4 class. Photo: Jenelle Schneider/Vancouver Sun

Child poverty drives Adopt-a-School campaign

By Gerry Bellett In the past three years The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-a-School campaign has distributed $1.4 million to dozens of schools in Metro Vancouver and other parts of the province. The money has been used to alleviate hunger and provide clothing to children arriving at school without a proper breakfast or a warm jacket. It has […]


Strathcona principal gets her Christmas wish

#vansunkids By GERRY BELLETT Strathcona Elementary principal Margaret Jorgensen has dreamt for years of finding the means to set up a computer-assisted literacy program at her Downtown Eastside school where many students living in extreme poverty struggle to read. Her friend Ron Suzuki, who runs the adjacent Strathcona Community Centre, said such a program would […]

Tanya Kozak

Adopt-a-School: Teachers will go it alone to pay for breakfast program if necessary #vansunkids

BY GERRY BELLETT The hunger game was manageable when Tanya Kozak was hired three years ago as a child-care worker at Surrey’s David Brankin Elementary. “There wasn’t so much of it back then,” said Kozak. But the next year it suddenly got worse, and Kozak started coming in early to make oatmeal for 10 to […]

Amrithma Dhillon, left, volunteers to serve students at Mitchell elementary in Richmond. The school would like to continue their lunch and breakfast program and to buy a dishwasher. Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost, PNG , Vancouver Sun

Breakfast needed more than ever: Hungry pupils can’t learn #vansunkids

  BY GERRY BELLETT It was in September two years ago that Mitchell elementary principal Madhuri Pendharkar realized something had to be done about the number of children coming to school hungry or without food to see them through the day. “We had a lot of kids that needed feeding,” said Pendharkar. “It was two-fold: […]

Shakayla Bowe and Kayci, with youth worker Carley Romas, at Charles Tupper Secondary’s program for young moms in Vancouver. Photograph by: Wayne Leidenfrost , Vancouver Sun

Adopt-a-School: Providing for young moms — and babies #vansunkids

BY GERRY BELLETT Kayci is 16 weeks old and her mother Shakayla Bowe is 16 years old — a symmetry of weeks and years that will never come again. And if those numbers suggest this is a child looking after a baby, the ready smile on the baby’s face shows that this is a child […]

rances Stone at home with her three children Austin, age 12 ( C ) , Aidan, age 7 ( R ) and Maya, age 6 ( L ), Burnaby,  Gerry Kahrmann  /  PNG)

The long climb out of poverty

BY DAPHNE BRAMHAM This Christmas is a special one for Frances Stone and her three children. This year, they didn’t have to rely on charity. “I bought all my children Christmas gifts. I bought all of them myself,” says the 38-year-old Burnaby mom. “That’s a huge thing for me. It’s the first year that I’ve […]


Strathcona Elementary families enjoy Metro Theatre’s pantomime #vansunkids

BY GERRY BELLETT If you‘ve never seen one before, nothing can prepare you for a good old-fashioned English pantomime. So when about 80 children and parents from Strathcona Elementary school in the Downtown Eastside entered Metro Theatre, Saturday night, to see their first panto — Jack and the Beanstalk — Catherine Morrison thought it advisable […]

Adrienne Beaton, Sir Charles Tupper secondary youth and family worker, and school counsellor Joseph Lee in front of 'Charlie's Closet at the Vancouver school. The pair are seeking cash donations to fund Charlie's Closet, a sort of in-school clothing store for impoverished kids.
Photograph by: Jason Payne , Vancouver Sun

Adopt-a-School: A closet for students who don’t have one at home #vansunkids

BY GERRY BELLETT There are some students attending Vancouver’s Sir Charles Tupper Secondary who own their own cars. And there are some who own only the clothes on their backs. The gulf that exists between those two groups needs no exploring. “Kids with cars? Yes. I remember seeing one kid broken down who didn’t know […]


Telus donating $1 for every social media mention of #vansunkids

Every time you use the social media hashtag #vansunkids, you’ll be helping impoverished children in your community. Telus is donating $1 to The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund Adopt-a-School campaign for every mention of the campaign tagged with the #vansunkids hashtag, up to a limit of $20,000. Telus has been a supporter of our Adopt-a-School program […]

Everybody in the community has to be involved in eliminating poverty, says Michael McAfee, who heads the Promise Neighborhoods Institute in Oakland, Calif.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch, PNG , Vancouver Sun

A coordinated attack on poverty

From cradle to career: Promise Neighborhoods program offers ‘big leadership’ and ‘big dollars’ By DAPHNE BRAMHAM It’s a radical idea: Breaking the poverty cycle is simple. That’s what Michael McAfee is helping to prove as director of the Promise Neighborhoods Institute , where he works with more than 60 of the most distressed communities in […]

Admiral Seymour elementary teacher Andrea Wilks, right, is joined by former MLA Joan McIntyre, who donated to The Vancouver Sun's Adopt-A-School campaign, which in turn helped pay for this sensory room at the school. The room will be used for children with emotional problems who cause disturbances in class and need help to calm down.
Photograph by: Jenelle Schneider, PNG , Vancouver Sun

Helping children with sensory overload

Donations create a place for students to calm down when the world gets too hectic   By GERRY BELLETT In late October the painters were finishing off the walls inside Admiral Seymour elementary’s new sensory centre, putting it out of commission, which was a pity because there was a young boy that morning whose nerves […]


Donors with hearts of gold help Richmond’s needy children

Food programs get 10-year commitment By DAPHNE BRAMHAM It is the longest commitment Adopt-a-School has ever received – $100,000 for food programs over 10 years. Not only are the Hearts of Gold Foundation and Centro Dental Group donating $10,000 a year to help feed hungry schoolchildren in Richmond, they’re setting up a pilot project that […]

Harrison Lee

It doesn’t matter who’s to blame, the village needs to feed the children #vansunkidsfund

BY SHELLEY FRALIC Whose fault is it that a kindergartner arrives for school every morning without having had breakfast and, sometimes, without having eaten dinner the night before? Who’s to blame when an elementary student comes to class lacking a warm coat, winter boots, gloves or even socks, and then opens a tattered backpack to […]


Simon Chang delivers hope, inspiration to Britannia Secondary School

By GILLIAN SHAW Simon Chang’s life as an internationally renowned fashion designer is far removed from the reality of life for students at Vancouver’s Britannia Secondary School. But Chang, who grew up the youngest of four children living with his family on Keefer Street in Chinatown, once walked the halls of the east-side school as […]


B.C.’s child-poverty rate is a travesty

By Daphne Bramham It’s a shameful and longstanding distinction that a greater percentage of B.C. children live in poverty than anywhere else in Canada, and 2011 was no exception. You can argue over which Statistics Canada data to use – low-income after tax or before tax, market basket measure, or the deprivation index. But it […]


Coquitlam’s Ecole Maillard needs help with breakfast, lunch and after-school food #vansunkidsfund

By Gerry Bellett In May Coquitlam’s Ecole Maillard Middle School took a run at feeding its hungry children. “We realized we needed to,” said vice principal Kathryn Jung whose school tops the vulnerably index in the Coquitlam school district with 10 per cent of its 409 students being deemed vulnerable as a consequence of poverty. […]


Richmond school needs help to supply lunches #vansunkids

By Gerry Bellett Vice-principal Tanya Major isn’t asking for much – $2,000 from The Vancouver Sun’s Adopt-A-School campaign – perhaps the most modest request this year’s campaign has received. Her school, William Bridge elementary, located at the end of a quiet street near Number 3 Road and Williams in Richmond, isn’t overwhelmed with the sort […]

champlain heights breakfast

Adopt-a-School 2013 campaign launch

By Gerry Bellett This time two years ago The Vancouver Sun launched our first Adopt-A-School campaign after discovering some inner-city schools were struggling against a tide of poverty and privation that was overwhelming teachers and principals. Want in the form of hungry children arriving at school in worn-out clothing and footwear, listless from hunger or […]

Teacher Carrie Gelson

From a single story comes profound change #vansunkids

By Shelley Fralic The one thing a newspaper reporter learns within minutes on the job, and even more so after years in the trenches, is that the power of the press can turn a single story into a profound agent of change. In the fall of 2011, The Vancouver Sun learned about the plight of […]

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Adopt-a-School: Kids learn to survive, and thrive, in the kitchen

By Gerry Bellett Their electric frying pans are filled with vegetables and Project Chef’s Barbara Finley is extolling the virtues of patience while cooking to 31 Grade 4-5 kids in Hastings Elementary, who hang on her every word. “Being patient — that’s the hardest part of cooking,” Finley tells them. “Have you seen the way […]