Photo: Kalamalka Rotarians with Starfish packs before they are delivered to a local school. (submitted)
The Starfish Program has made a big difference in Vernon – and around the province, feeding over 1,200 students in need every week during the school year.
The program that started seven years ago at an Abbotsford school, has grown to 116 schools in 18 BC communities, and in Washington state.
Vernon Starfish Pack currently delivers 93 backpacks to Vernon elementary schools each week, feeding 130 children.
The packs provide two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks every Friday in a program run by local service clubs, non profits, businesses and individuals.
Local organizers says at a cost of $525/child for the school year, all of locally donated dollars stay in the community and 100% of those funds are spent on purchasing food for local children.
“We started a pilot program with 20 backpacks in April 2016,” said Carmen Larsen, of Kalamalka Rotary and Starfish Pack Program Director. “We had overwhelming support for the program from students, parents, and the community. With the continued support from individuals, businesses and organizations, we can continue to expand this program to meet the needs of many children who go hungry on weekends.”
Larsen says provincially, about one in five children live in poverty and routinely go more than a full day without getting adequate calories for healthy living and growth.
“Starfish Pack is a practical way to tackle poverty that is affecting our next generation,” says Larsen. “We want to provide nutritious food to all children who need it, to make sure they are able to thrive in school, and in life. For only $525 we can feed a child for a full school year and give them a proper start to
the rest of their life.”
To find out more about the Vernon Starfish Pack program, go to: https://starfishpack.com/vernon/