Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund Helps with Food Security and Other Needs for Local Children and Families

31 July 2022Grants & Funding, News & Announcements

After the November 2021 floods in Abbotsford, we joined forces with the University of the Fraser Valley and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce to establish the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund (ADRF). After raising over $4 million, the fund continues to support front-line agencies providing essential services, as well as local farmers and businesses. The Abbotsford School District (ASD) and the Abbotsford School District’s Indigenous Education Department are great examples, both receiving funding to support local children and families most impacted by the flooding.

Abbotsford School District’s Indigenous Education Department

The ASD’s Indigenous Education Department used the funding to support Upper Sumas Elementary’s First Nations Program by meeting immediate and short-term needs. Families impacted by flooding received grocery cards, replacements of lost sports equipment and indigenous-specific reading materials. The funding also supported a feast for the entire community and a healing ceremony.

According to the Indigenous Education Department, the project was successful in meeting the immediate needs of families that had really suffered and were impacted by displacement and financial loss due to the flooding. They reported that the ability to replace essential items for students raised their spirits and created normalcy by allowing them to attend school and continue to do the things they loved. The purpose of the feast was to gather people together, celebrate community, have all voices represented, and share ‘wealth’ as a means of healing. 

The Indigenous Education Department would like to say a special thank you to Elder Tina for taking the initiative to apply for funding. They shared that their hands go up to the coalition partners and the Abbotsford School District for their support. 
Some of the families shared their thoughts on the feast and ceremony: 

“I had never participated in a healing ceremony, and it was so special to see the First Nations traditions being shared with the whole school community.” 
“It was so great to gather and be a school family again. Thank you, Elder Tina, for teaching all the students and modeling care and community for all.” 
“It meant so much to be part of the ceremony and see all the special give-aways the students made to share their’ wealth.’ 

Abbotsford School District
The Abbotsford School District (ASD) received funding for their School Meals Program, which ensures that the most vulnerable students have the nutrition needed to help them learn and achieve. The School Meals Program provides prepared healthy lunches to students at their school free of charge for families that need it.

ASD noticed early on that the flooding caused significant disruption, impacting local businesses and their employees through closures, damage, loss of income and, in some cases, permanent loss of employment. They shared that this economically impacted the families of students in Abbotsford schools. Shortly after the flooding happened, they saw an increase in families requesting to participate in the School Meals program, with a rise from 310 meals per day before the flooding to an increase of 359 meals per day by January.
With the funding, they shared that they successfully met the needs of the additional students and families needing support. In total, an extra 4,479 meals were provided for vulnerable students who entered the School Meals program after the flooding event. These students had the much-needed nutrition to learn and achieve at school.

The ASD shared that they are so grateful to the ADRF for providing a grant that enabled them to meet the nutritional needs of their students impacted by the flooding. They are also thankful for our shared commitment to meeting the needs of our most vulnerable children and families and supporting the learning and achievement of every student.

To learn more about the ADRF’s charitable organization funding stream,click here.


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We respectfully acknowledge that we are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, the Semá:th First Nation and Mathxwí First Nation. As treaty People, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, we share the responsibility for the continued stewardship of this beautiful land.