A local business owner with a long history of supporting worthy community projects has been honored with an award of distinction.
Abbotsford based Unitex Sales owner Bob Johnson was presented with a Rotary District Governor’s citation earlier this month at a special ceremony hosted by the Rotary Club of Abbotsford.
Johnson was recognized not only for his firm’s significant support of the Abbotsford Starfish Pack program, but also for supporting neighboring communities and Rotary clubs that have introduced the Starfish Pack Program in their communities.
The Starfish Pack Program provides a two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks for local school children in need to take home every weekend during the school year. Started in 2013 in a single Abbotsford school for six students, the program has expanded into Chilliwack, Aldergrove, Langley and Coquitlam, with a number of other BC communities working towards starting their own programs. Today, over 430 students in 33 schools are provided the weekend backpack in the five participating communities. Over 250 backpacks are delivered weekly in 22 schools in Abbotsford alone.
Unitex Sales not only provided all the backpacks used in the program at cost, but has also donated hundreds of backpacks free of charge to each of the Starfish Pack communities. Rotary District Governor Bill Robson made the presentation to Johnson on behalf of all Rotary clubs which have benefited from Johnson’s generosity.
“Bob Johnson’s significant support of Rotary and specifically the Starfish Packs, not only in Abbotsford but in other BC communities, has allowed multiple Rotary Clubs in District 5050 to save tens of thousands of dollars. [His] contributions are extremely worthy of district recognition”, said Robson.
Leslie McConnell, president of the Rotary Club of Abbotsford also expressed her appreciation. “We are always inspired and humbled by our local businesses and Bob Johnson is certainly a great example of that. We appreciate his partnership with us to show our love and care for hurting children in Abbotsford.”
In accepting the award, Johnson shared a challenge he received from the leaders of the Aboriginal communities; “Bob, do right things in a good way.” Johnson said he believes the Rotary Clubs of Abbotsford and other communities are “doing the right things in a good way and is proud to be part of this great endeavor”. Johnson had previously spoken of growing up in poverty himself and knowing even as a small child that “a small gesture can make a huge difference in the life of a family that’s struggling.”
Johnson concluded his acceptance of the District Governor’s Citation by announcing another donation of free backpacks to allow the program to expand further. He challenged other local businesses to get involved in the Starfish program. To find out more, visit www.starfishpack.com.
For more information on the Rotary Club of Abbotsford, visit abbotsfordrotary.com