LLCS Supports Gladstone Secondary Food Program for Students from Low-income Families
For many British Columbia communities, hand sanitizer, face masks, and social distancing protocols are slowly being forgotten as life returns back to normal. But for some families, there is no “normal” to return to, except the one that they have been living in since March 2020.
For many families at East Vancouver’s Gladstone Secondary School, hand sanitizer and face masks are still luxuries. Despite these items being seen everywhere in the past year and a half, only a handful of individuals are lucky enough to afford and access these items.
For students who are lucky, their time spent as a child or a teenager goes towards playing video games, meeting with friends, focusing on school, and creating long-lasting and happy memories. But for many children in BC, this is not the reality; they are often given the burden of worry.
It is often difficult for students from low-income families to focus on school. Many worry about whether or not they will have a meal at their tables, or whether or not they should focus less on school, and instead get a job to provide some financial relief for their families.
In the last year, the Covid-19 pandemic put many students from low-income families in an even more difficult situation. One community that faced these adverse circumstances were students from Gladstone Secondary School.
Over 50 students at Gladstone Secondary School were enrolled in the Free Lunch Program and when schools shut down to prevent the spread of the virus, many students and their families struggled to sustain themselves.
Many students feared enrolling in relief programs as they were embarrassed that their classmates would find out about their difficult financial circumstances. Apart from difficult financial circumstances, many also experienced external pressures of poor family dynamics, family poverty, domestic violence, and cultural barriers.
Keeping this community in mind, the Lotus Light Charity Society (LLCS) has helped Gladstone Secondary School for a long time, including initiatives aimed at improving food security. For example, with generous donations from Superstore at Grandview Highway, the LLCS, through the Covid-19 Emergency Food Hub Program, was able to distribute non-perishable food items to students and families enrolled at the school, including those enrolled in the Free Lunch Program.
Through the “Lotus Light Care for Single Parent and Low-Income Families” initiatives, the LLCS also provided grocery gift cards to help low-income single parent families and students from low-income families.
Diane Phillips, Vice Principal of Gladstone Secondary School, wrote a heartwarming letter to the LLCS to thank the organization for their assistance.
“Once again, I am writing to say thank you so much for the amazing support you have provided to Gladstone students and families. The food, gift cards and other non-perishable items you donated to our students and families were such a valuable contribution to the overall support system we strive to provide.”
“It was an unprecedented and dynamic year for everyone – with system change upon system change…[but] the support you provided was consistently well timed…”
With greater numbers of the BC population getting vaccinated, life is slowly returning to normal. As restrictions are lifted, many forget that some community members will continue to be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Keeping these members in mind, the LLCS will continue helping disadvantaged communities in Vancouver, including the continuation of programs to donate non-perishable food items to Gladstone Secondary School students and families.
The Lotus Light Charity Society would like to thank our generous corporate and individual sponsors for their financial support and in-kind donations. For more information on various Lotus Light’s charity programs, please contact us by email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: 604-685-5548, or visit lotus light website: http://vllcs.org. Lotus Light Charity Society registered number: BN 14110-4893-RR0001.