Clothing helps firefighters feed kids

Coquitlam firefighters seek help to raise funds for school snack program

Coquitlam firefighters are working hard to make sure no student goes hungry — and they need the community's help.

A clothing drive is underway to raise funds for a nutritional snack program currently running in two Coquitlam schools, with a third to be added in the fall.

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Adam Jensen said he and his colleagues with the Coquitlam Firefighters Charitable Society are trying to address child hunger with the initiative that has supplied nearly 6,000 breakfasts since the program started two years ago.

"It was a program that other fire departments have run," Jensen said. "We kind of found it was something we wanted to get behind because we felt no kid should go to school hungry."

To raise funds for milk, cereal, yogurt, bread and fruit, the firefighters host an annual charity gala; this year's will be Sept. 10 at the Hard Rock Casino Vancouver.

But this spring, the Coquitlam smoke-eaters decided to expand the fundraising by adding two clothing collection bins, one each at the Mariner Way and Burke Mountain fire halls.

By partnering with a company that purchases the clothes by weight and pays monthly, the society hopes to get a consistent source of cash.

"We're hoping to expand [the snack program] to add a new school in September. We want to keep running the program as long as there's students and kids that want it," Jensen said.

If the pilot is successful, bins may be added to two other Coquitlam fire halls.

In the meantime, the public is asked to drop off their good used clothing.

Jensen said a recent clothing drive at elementary schools in School District 43 was successful, with Meadowbrook elementary bringing in the most clothing and earning a barbecue lunch catered by the firefighters — "It our way to say thanks."

• The clothing bins are at Mariner fire hall, located at 775 Mariner Way, and at the Burke Mountain fire hall, located at 3501 David Ave.

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