Herrmann, the Surrey Food Bank executive director, said she was just astounded at hearing that number. “I thought, wow, that is a lot of dollars, and where is that going?”
Herrmann and Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation Jane Adams started talking about ways to funnel more of that money into the community.
And that’s how Surrey’s latest charity campaign began – with a stray statistic.
The result of that lunchtime chat, and months of meetings afterwards, is an innovative campaign to encourage Surrey residents to put their money where their home is.
Give where you live: that’s the message of the new “We Live Here, We Give Here” campaign, a joint effort of three of the municipality’s largest charities: the Surrey Food Bank, the Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society and the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation.
“We want people to understand that it’s important to give locally. It doesn’t matter which charity you give to,” Herrmann said.
If the campaign is a success, Hermann said, more could be added next year.
“I truly believe charities aren’t in competition with each other but are all helping people in different ways,” Herrmann said.
Mayor Dianne Watts thinks the campaign will help focus the impact of charity dollars.
“We’ve got a lot of really wonderful philanthropic people all over the city of Surrey,” says Watts. “This initiative is about focusing those dollars in the community.”
Certainly, there’s need in Surrey.
At the food bank, for instance, a dozen new families are referred every day. The Surrey location also serves more youth – 42 per cent of clients are children and infants – than most other B.C. food banks.
“Surrey is a very young community and we are growing like crazy. We have a high percentage of new immigrants coming here and when they come they have some incredible challenges,” explained the executive director.
And meeting those needs, like bringing in more vegetarian food hampers for families with religious dietary restrictions or paying for a year of formula for an infant, takes a lot of community support.
The Surrey Food Bank helps 14,000 people a month stretch grocery budgets and feed their children with food hampers and staples, and it needs $1.3 million a year to keep food on its tables.
For its part, the Surrey Memorial Hospital Foundation has raised more than $60 million since it was founded in 1992 to purchase medical equipment and fund programs at the hospital, including a current campaign to help build a new eight-storey critical care building, now under construction.
And the Surrey Firefighters Charitable Society has donated volunteer hours to more than 40 local initiatives since it was founded in 1994 and has raised $1 million for the Surrey Hospital, $300,000 for the Surrey YMCA, and $125,000 for the Centre for Child Development, among other causes.
Learn more about the campaign or donate at weliveherewegivehere.ca
HOW MUCH DOES SURREY GIVE?
– According to Revenue Canada statistics, Surrey residents give more than $100 million to charity every year.
– About 20 per cent of the city’s population made a charitable donation that they claimed on their tax returns between 2007 and 2009. The average gift was an impressive $1,719.
– By comparison, the December 2011 Statistics Canada report on charitable donations measured by community found that the median donation ranged from $380 to $620 in Abbotsford-Mission.
– In B.C., 710,000 residents – 22 per cent of the population that filed tax returns – gave to charity last year, with a median donation of $370.