The Sunshine Society, a charity organization established in Surrey, plans to add care packages for low-income families to their 2022 community projects. The society is a diverse team that works to help the community by donating to the food bank, hosting community cleanups and providing scholarships for post-secondary studies.
Gurniwaz Gagar is the founder of the Sunshine Society, and she is currently studying anthropology and philosophy at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
“I always had a passion for community and for giving back and doing something meaningful with my time. I think somewhere along the way. I felt the need to really be part of this social change,” Gagar says.
Since its inception, Sunshine Society has fundraised for the Surrey food bank and created care packages for women’s shelters in Surrey, as well as people experiencing homelessness. The fundraiser for the Surrey food bank started as a one-time thing before the society decided to make it an annual event. They make sure their fundraising is done between May and June because food banks receive fewer donations during those times.
They have also created a scholarship for high school graduates.
“I’m aware that there are some people who are unable to pursue an education because they are unable to find funding. So, because myself and other members of my team were able to recognize that, we thought it would be nice to be able to provide means to another student who would like to further advance their education,” Gagar says.
Gagar says all the money the organization has is collected through fundraisers and they’ve been lucky to have big companies believe in their initiative and support it.
They also plan to host a community cleanup in March and make it a monthly occurrence.
Gagar says the care packages they provided to people experiencing homelessness have been really helpful throughout the pandemic, especially since shelters have had to scale back on the hours and the number of people they accept.
“We’re providing them with the basic necessities that they need to at least live a healthy day. Even if we [are] able to help them for even a minute to feel some sort of sense of relief, I think that means that we had a successful initiative,” Gagar says.
Deephans Singh, vice president of Sunshine Society, says the projects they complete depend on the month, and as their team continues to grow, they will increase their community projects.
Since starting his position, Singh has enjoyed working with a diverse team. He believes the society is contributing to the community through offering financial support and taking care of the environment.
“Everyone wants to see a change in the world, but not many people work towards it, they just want to see the change,” says Singh.
“This organization is working towards that change.”
Gagar says the society has not only provided a space for her during the pandemic but given access to a community of people who share the same ideas and values as her.
“It gives all of us youth a sense of community as well as feeling like we belong somewhere. It gives us the opportunity to give back to the community. I never thought Sunshine Society would end up becoming a growing team of almost 30 people now, and I imagine ourselves growing even more from here,” Gagar says.