Major LLCS Charity Programs and Contributions (Updated Summer 2023)
For the past 30 years, the Lotus Light Charity Society (Vancouver) has held numerous programs and initiatives in the hopes of benefiting less fortunate community members in need, especially those impoverished resident in DTES Vancouver community.
- Lotus Light (COVID-19) Community Caring Drive has been organized and partnered up with local food warehouse, food manufacturers, food distribution hubs and assistance groups, distributed a total of 480,000 lbs of food to marginalized and low-income groups since the start of the pandemic, and benefitted tens of thousands of individuals and families including low-income families, seniors, migrant workers, and those affected by the pandemic in lower mainland and Fraser Valley.
- Lotus Light Annual Community Caring Day: Every July in the heart of the downtown eastside Strathcona Chinatown neighbourhood, Lotus Light Community Caring Day brings together individuals, businesses, neighbourhood groups, and community service volunteer groups to raise awareness and provide resources and support to the most vulnerable members of our local Downtown Eastside community, and to celebrate community caring. The sixth annual event held on July 16, 2022 has benefitted nearly 1,000 vulnerable members in the DTES.
- Lotus Light annual Winter Charity Drive has been helping unhoused and low-income residents survive and find comfort during the harsh, cold winter months. The program has distributed over 600,000 (Valued at $1,500,000) winter garments to the homeless and impoverished residents in the Lower Mainland, with over 30 beneficiary shelters and charity organizations since 1995. In the 2022 Winter Charity Drive, a total of 50,000 winter care items were distributed to people in need. From December 2022 to February 2023, the Lotus Light Extreme Weather Response Team made multiple emergency distributions of care packages, fruit drinks, hot chocolates, hot coffee, sandwiches, hot lunch boxes, snacks, and fruit to the houseless people living on the street during the record-breaking cold temperatures this past winter. The Extreme Weather Response distributions have benefitted over 400 unhoused people in the Downtown Eastside community.
- Lotus Light Free Hot Meal for Homeless was established in 2015 to help vulnerable people with monthly free lunch boxes distribution in Oppenheimer Park in DTES community. The program has been expanded to weekly meals program supported by Lotus Light Emergency Kitchen as a response to the urgent food needs of local vulnerable groups in July 2020. The charity kitchen now prepares 100 meals twice a week to help vulnerable groups in DTES community and has prepared and distributed over 30,000 free and nutritious meals since summer 2020 to help unhoused community members and low-income seniors living in the Downtown Eastside SRO Collaborative social housing buildings.
- Children Assistance Plan (CAP) provides food and household items, including hampers and grocery shopping gift cards, to help inner-city school students from low-income families. Lotus Light established Children Food Backpack Program in 2013 to donate non-perishable food items to support Strathcona Community Centre’s Children Food Backpack Program and other inner-city school’s student assistance program, the program was combined with Student Food Hamper Drive during the pandemic and now expanded to Children Assistance Plan to help more students from low-income family in our inner-city schools. Since the spring of 2021, Lotus Light Children Assistance Plan has donated over $20,000 worth of gift cards and more than 30,000lbs of non-perishable food, household cleaning items and personal protection gears to help students from low-income families. More than 1000 students from 10 inner-city schools are benefited.
- Lotus Light launched Food Recovery Program in 2010, started with a weekly bread pickup from a north van bakery, now provides an average of 10,000 lbs of food rescued from food warehouses, restaurants, bakeries and grocery chains every month to help our local communities. From 2010-2018, the weekly bread collection from Cobs Bakery resulted in over 150,000 lbs of food to benefit low-income programs and charity soup kitchens. Today, the food recovery program has expanded to collect weekly grocery donations from A Bread Affair, Terra Breads, Save-On Foods, FoodRescue.ca, FoodMesh.ca, Starbucks, T&T Supermarket, Sungiven Foods and Fresh Street Market. The positive impact now is more far reaching than ever before from Vancouver, Tri-cities area, Richmond, Surrey and Abbotsford, helping migrant farm workers, low-income school programs, refugees and immigrant families, seniors, homeless shelter soup kitchens, multiple charities and emergency food hubs. In 2022, over 120,000 pounds of much needed nutrient foods are rescued from going into landfills. Lotus Light Charity Society is nominated by Second Harvest – Canada’s largest food rescue organization for the Frontline Impact award for the Second Harvest’s 2023 Food Rescue Awards program, to recognize Lotus Light’s commitment in fighting food insecurity and helping those in need in our communities. (https://www.secondharvest.ca/events/event-calendar/2023-food-rescue-awards).
- Lotus Light Charity Society Scholarship has been providing scholarships to post secondary study for financially disadvantaged students who have achieved distinguished academic excellence and actively contributed to community volunteer works, over 250 students benefitted.
- LLCS (Vancouver) annual Rice Donation Program has contributed over 380,000 pounds of rice to local food banks and other community organizations, with a total of more than 100,000 beneficiary families over 28 years.
- Lotus Light also holds Free Income Tax Clinic and Free ESL Class to help low-income seniors and new immigrants.