If you ask Parm Herman, an Administrator at Loblaw’s Vancouver
Distribution Centre (DC), why she first got involved with President’s Choice
Children’s Charity, she’ll tell you two stories, one about her grandma and one
about her mom.
“If anyone got off a train or a bus in the town where my
grandparents lived and said, ‘Oh, gosh, we're hungry. Is there a place where we
can eat?’ people would just point and say, ‘See that house?’ Because they
wouldn’t send anyone away without eating,” Parm says. “My grandma always made
sure that if anyone came to her household and needed a plate of food, she would
provide for them.”
So, that’s where she learned the importance of giving back. But
she also knows first-hand how easily childhood hunger can rear its head.
“There’s six sisters in our family and we were brought up by a
single mom—my father wasn’t around. So, my mom worked really hard to provide
for us so that we wouldn't go hungry as we were growing up,” she recalls. “it's
just so important to me that no child should go hungry.”
That’s why, when she was asked to help out with the charity back in 2011, the answer was an obvious yes—and why she devotes so much of her spare time to volunteering, behind-the-scenes organizational work and encouraging other colleagues and employees to take part. Over the past 20 years, she’s been instrumental in holding DC-wide BBQs, taco days and cookie sales, organizing charity car washes and drumming up donations for raffles and auctions. Her DC has a breakfast counter, which is stocked with healthy snacks and a can where people can leave a donation for every item they take. She’s even helped organize sign-up days to help new colleagues commit to payroll deductions, and of course she donates to the charity that way herself.
“When you put aside $1 a week to donate, it’s like $52 a year. It’s nothing! We stop at Tim Hortons or Starbucks and we buy coffee every day,” she says. “That $1 goes to a great cause; I think it's just phenomenal.”
That’s especially important this year, as the charity has a new goal: to feed a million kids annually.
Parm has seen the importance of that goal first-hand. She remembers visiting a school that participates in the charity’s meal program in 2019, where she and the rest of her group cooked for the kids.
“When the kids actually came and ate the food, I felt so fulfilled,” she says.