A local partnership means continued support for kids in need from Chilliwack to Boston Bar.
Murray Honda Chilliwack has cemented its partnership with Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society for two community programs that support children and youth: Project Warmth and We Got Your Back.
Project Warmth, is now officially under the umbrella of Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society, to furnish young people in need with winter coats, as well as school supplies through We Got Your Back.
The newly formalized partnership will ensure continued growth of these programs, as needs evolve, according to Justin Mallard, community engagement manager for Murray Honda.
It wasn’t really a stretch for Bowls of Hope.
“It’s a natural fit for our organization to expand the support we already provide to these same children,” said Cindy Waters, executive director for Bowls of Hope.
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope feeds about 1,000 kids a year in 28 schools in Chilliwack and the Upper Fraser Valley a nutritious hot lunch. The organization is also tackling food-security needs with meal-kits, gardening opportunities, education and skill building, and by working towards food sovereignty for all as an over-arching aim.
“We provide scholarships for post-secondary education and anything that we can do to help students stay in school and be successful is a win for the community,” Waters said.
Project Warmth began in 2012 after Mallard reached out to Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society reps including Waters and the late Mike Csoka to see if there was an appetite to build on a common passion and commitment to supporting families facing hardships.
The answer was a resounding yes.
The first year a total of 400 brand-new winter coats were handed out with the help of Chilliwack Canadian Tire, Chilliwack Staples and other partners working hand in hand with the Chilliwack School District and more recently, Fraser Cascade School District.
“When these coats were delivered, volunteers were met with stories of the daily struggles district staff face in supporting the most in need families,” Mallard said.
Over the last 10 years these programs have evolved and grown. Since the local sponsors joined forces, thousands of children and youth from Chilliwack to Boston Bar have received more than $1 million dollars in brand new winter coats, footwear, school supplies, computers and garden supplies for school gardens.
Mallard said this support would not be possible without the yearly commitment of program sponsors. A complete list of sponsors is on the community page on the Murray Honda and Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society’s websites.
Mallard said formalizing their bond brings the partnership that was forged a decade ago full circle.
He described the impact this way: “All our partners are very excited to see the future our programs will hold under the bright umbrella of Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society.”