Weekend meal program to help feed students

Starfish Packs provide meals and snacks for needy children across B.C.

Starfish backpacks filled with food supplies for needy kids are coming to Surrey schools

Throughout the province, students in many communities are showing up to school without a lunch or snacks to keep them fed throughout the day.

While there are lunch and snack programs at schools in Surrey provided by various service groups, with increasing household costs many of these same children go without basic meals on weekends as well.

So, in 2013 the Abbotsford Rotary Club and the Abbotsford Food Bank began a pilot project to provide weekend meals for children.

The Starfish Pack program provides two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners along with snacks for each child and is distributed to needy students every Friday.

Beginning in a single school and serving only six students, the program has now expanded to over a dozen communities across the province, including Surrey, as of Sept. 30.

Lena Shaw Elementary was be the first school in Surrey to take advantage of the program, providing 10 back packs to needy children.

“Any support of this type, helping students after school is good thing, we’re really grateful to all organizations and individuals that come forward to help the food programs,” said Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan. “The return on all of these programs is a child who has a chance to be more successful in school and not be distracted by hunger while they’re learning.”

Each Starfish Pack program is 100 per cent funded by local volunteers and donations with no paid staff or government funding.

“One unexpected outcome was that we’re seeing the program have a measurable impact on student attendance,” said Starfish Pack organizer Bruce Beck of the Abbotsford Rotary Club. “Students have to attend class on Friday to get their backpack and they have to return the empty backpack on Monday to have it refilled. Those are the two days that traditionally have the highest absenteeism rates, so kids are coming to class more often, worrying less about what to eat and learning more,” he said.

Working with local Save-On-Foods locations in each community and receiving all food at-cost, the Starfish Pack program is able to provide the backpack filled with six meals for an annual cost of $525 per child or $12-15 per week.

Currently the district has breakfast programs, lunch programs and snack programs and feeds about 3,500 children a day, however, Strachan estimates the need is probably closer to about 6,000 students.

To find out how to support Surrey Starfish Packs, go to:  http://starfishpack.com/surrey/#donate

Just Posted

Surrey council approves modular housing projects for homeless after lengthy hearing

Vote comes after three-hour-long public hearing over supportive housing projects in Whalley, Guildford

Surrey mayor appoints his Safe Surrey Coalition to police transition committee

McCallum dissolved the city’s public safety committee last week in favour of the new committee

Rollover crash in South Surrey

One person airlifted following incident near 40 Avenue and 160 Street

VIDEO: Gone Country success means so much to cancer patient

Mother of three, recovering from breast cancer treatment, makes it to seventh annual charity concert

PHOTOS: Beach day in White Rock

Summer heat brings locals and tourists to the beach

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Family of missing B.C. senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

25 new wheelchair-accessible cabins open at Cultus Lake Provincial Park

Maple Bay Campground is now home to 25 new wheelchair friendly cabins, a first for BC Parks

Most Read