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

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

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson and Trevor Linden’s Club 16 partner Carl Ulmer are pushing for gym memberships and services to become tax deductible. (Contributed photo)
Semiahmoo Peninsula fitness pros leading charge on tax-deductible gym memberships

Live Well Exercise Clinic CEO Sara Hodson pitched idea to deputy prime minister

(Photo: Now-Leader).
Surrey Schools seeking community input for 2021-22 budget

Majority of it is pre-allocated, but room to address priorities in the community

An example of a Surrey Police cruiser, showcased at Mayor Doug McCallum’s State of the City Address at Civic Hotel in May of 2019. (File photo: Amy Reid)
Surrey Police Service hires first three inspectors as ‘next layer of leadership’

Three men have more than 80 years of combined experience

Whalley Chiefs general manager Paul Hargreaves in the stands at the club's diamond at Whalley Athletic Park. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Surrey baseball clubs prep for spring games as COVID threatens another season

‘I’m really excited about this year, because we have the troops in place,’ Whalley Chiefs GM says

Scales of Justice
Court awards woman $167K after vehicle was struck by White Rock taxi in 2016

Plaintiff’s knee injuries and resulting chronic pain disability are genuine, judge rules

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Grand Forks’ Gary Smith stands in front of his Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster float. Photo: Submitted
Grand Forks’ Flying Spaghetti Monster leader still boiling over driver’s licence photo

Gary Smith, head of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster of B.C., said he has since spoken to lawyers

RCMP members responded to calls of a man-down at Landsdowne mall in Richmond Wednesday afternoon. The 40-year-old was suffering from stab wounds. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man in critical condition following afternoon attack outside Richmond mall: RCMP

The Vancouver resident was found lying injured outside Richmond’s Lansdowne Centre

Most Read