Children holding Starfish Backpacks.
“I am a big believer that every single dollar means something when it goes to a good cause,” shares Archway donor and supporter Ravi Dhaliwal.
Ravi’s company, Central Valley Insurance, has been a long-term sponsor of the Archway Charity Golf Tournament and he has personally supported the Archway Food Bank and its Starfish Pack program.
Ravi first learned about the work Archway does for the community through his friend, Gary McCaskill, another long-term supporter and golf tournament organizing committee member.
“What Gary told me about the organization really resonated with me,” says Ravi.
It also opened his eyes to the various areas of need within his community.
“Archway is a lifeline in my eyes to the many vulnerable people in our community. Their mission is to provide for the community in so many ways, whether it be a food bank for families unable to put food on their table, helping hands/ears to women dealing with domestic violence, they do it all,” said Ravi.
Ravi and his family (Photo Credit: Ashley Bryce Photography).
The Starfish Pack Program
Ravi has three children and his six-year-old daughter Aariya wondered why some kids “got to go to school early and have breakfast.”
He used her curiosity as an opportunity to teach her that some children were not getting enough food from home due to their living situation and/or financial strains their families faced.
“She understood what this meant and was glad they were getting breakfast,” said Ravi.
In June, while picking his daughter up from school he was having a conversation about the school year coming to an end and Aariya brought up a question that left him at a loss for words.
“She asked how the kids will be able to get breakfast once the schools are closed,” says Ravi.
In that moment he was unsure as to what to tell his daughter.
“My daughter is emotional, so right away I could see her eyes starting to water in my rear-view mirror,” said Ravi. “I told her I’d find out if there was something we could do.”
As fate would have it, Ravi received an email from Archway’s philanthropy team a week later asking for donations for the Starfish Pack Program. The email highlighted the fact that the Starfish Pack ran over the summer months, so students will continue to have access to nutritious food in the summertime.
“At that time, I knew it was a perfect opportunity to donate to a cause that really meant something to my daughter and myself,” says Ravi.
The Starfish Pack Program was created after food bank staff heard that children were coming to school hungry on Mondays after not having access to school meals over the weekends. These students were more likely to have trouble focusing and experience behavioral or academic challenges.
“Starfish Packs are designed to ensure that food is accessible and within reach for children while in school,” said Meghan Kellington, the Starfish Pack Coordinator.
Each week during the school year, volunteers pack two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and healthy snacks and deliver the backpacks to the participating schools in time for the weekend.
With the help of many local donors like Ravi, the program is now delivering more than 650 packs to 42 elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Abbotsford. Recognizing the same need over the summer as Aariya, the Summer Starfish program also ensures children, and their families have access to support during the summer.
The Starfish Backpack Program is working to address food insecurity, one child at a time, and you can help with a donation or volunteering.
“At that time, I knew it was a perfect opportunity to donate to a cause that really meant something to my daughter and myself.”
Learning to Give
Ravi is a strong believer that your community is the reason for your success personally and professionally.
“This community took in my dad when he first migrated to Canada in 1980, and I was born and raised in this very community, so it played a part in raising me,” says Ravi.
Ravi is also grateful to the community for supporting his business.
“It’s only fair that Central Valley Insurance gives back to that same community that has contributed to its success in order to make it stronger,” says Ravi.
He credits both his parents and religion for showing him the importance of giving back.
“My parents have always helped others in need and that definitely rubbed off on me as a child. My religion has also played a big part, as we are taught from a young age the importance of giving back to our community,” says Ravi.
Like his father, he makes a conscious effort to keep his children aware of the struggles their neighbours face, with hopes it will make them appreciate what they have and foster a similar passion for giving to those in need.
“There will always be people who need help in some way and having these generations of generosity allows Archway to continue meeting the needs of our community,” said Jennifer Willford, Archway Manager of Philanthropy. “We’re so thankful for donors like Ravi who invest in their community.”
Central Valley Insurance Team at the 2023 Archway Charity Golf Tournament.
“There will always be people who need help in some way and having these generations of generosity allows Archway to continue meeting the needs of our community.”