No hungry children
In a community as prosperous as Kelowna, it is hard to believe that kids can go hungry, and yet child hunger is the biggest issue facing the Kelowna Community Food Bank.
Forty percent of the food bank’s clients are under the age of 15.
Good nutrition is essential. Nutritionally disadvantaged children are at risk of everything from health issues, impaired growth and development (physical, mental and emotional), poor concentration, mood and behavioural problems.
Food insecurity is preventable, and the Kelowna Community Food Bank wants the public to know that a recent expansion of the Kids’ Snack Pack Program is making a difference. However, their mission to end child hunger needs ongoing public support.
“We have set a goal to eliminate child hunger in Kelowna, says Lenetta Parry, food bank Associate Executive Director, “Although we have made great strides towards assisting vulnerable children, there is still much work to be done.”
The Kids’ Snack Pack program provides children with a monthly snack pack that can be used for daycare or school. Snack packs include fresh fruit, cello-packaged fresh produce, yogurt, cheese, 100% fruit juice boxes, bottled water and healthy granola bars.
Started as a pilot project in 2007 with United Way Success By 6 funding, the Snack Pack program was for children age one to six. With financial support from the No Hungry Children campaign, Central Okanagan Foundation and Trinity Baptist Church, the program has been expanded to include children up to twelve years old, effectively doubling the snack packs distributed each month.
Scott Lanigan, Director of Cause at Trinity Baptist Church, explains the decision to invest in this program.
“Families and children are a big part of our church community, and some of us rely on the food bank. Food should be the last thing on a child’s mind when they are in school.”
The Kelowna Community Food Bank runs three programs to combat child hunger. In addition to Kids’ Snack Pack, they offer Tiny Bundles, a weekly program supporting pregnant women and families with children under the age of one to meet nutritional needs. The third program is Kids’ Vitality Hampers, which ensures that families with children under the age of fifteen receive adequate nutrition in accordance with Canada’s Food Guide, including milk, eggs, cheese and fresh produce.
The Kelowna Food Bank is a self-supporting organization that relies on generous donors and committed organizations to fight local hunger. For more information on the Kelowna Community Food Bank, please visit www.kelownafoodbank.com/ or www.nohungrychildren.com/
Change starts here, to find out how you can be part of change, visit www.unitedwaycso.com
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