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Surrey Food Bank raises $90,000

Thomas Harding, a lawyer with the Guildford Law Group, didn’t have a lot to eat as a child.

After his sister died in 1964, his parents split up, leaving his mother to raise six sons.

There were no food banks when Harding and his family needed one, but there was help. Nuns at a nearby school allowed the Harding boys to attend for free. The Royal Canadian Legion gave Thomas a scholarship for university.

But the help offered wasn’t quite enough to stave off hunger, so Harding and his brothers would raid corn fields at night, pilfer leftovers from restaurant garbage cans, and catch wild pigeons.

“I’ve learned some lessons from this life,” he said Wednesday, speaking to an audience of 600 at the Bollywood Banquet Hall in Surrey. “No one chooses to be poor. No one is hungry because they’re lazy.”

Harding was speaking at this year’s Breakfast with the Bank, a free morning meal hosted annually by the Surrey Food Bank. In exchange for breakfast, the organizers ask that people donate money. It’s the only fundraising event the organization holds.

Before leaving the stage, Harding challenged the audience to fill the envelopes on their tables.

“Do not go back to your life intending to do something,” he said. “Do something. Good intentions will not feed hungry children.”

Last year, the food bank raised $86,000. This year, the total was more than $90,000.

“It’s the people who care about this organization who have pulled us out of some tough times in the past and who will be there tomorrow as we face new challenges,” said Marilyn Herrmann, executive director of the food bank.

For more information, visit www.surreyfoodbank.org, call 604-581-5443, or drop by 10732 135 St.

cmacbride@surreyleader.com

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