No child should go hungry

It's hard to think about reading, writing and arithmetic when you have not eaten, but that is the reality for thousands of Central Okanagan students.

According to Kelowna-based Hope for the Nations, more than 4,500 children in the central Okanagan are at risk of going to school hungry every day.

Statistics Canada information shows one in five BC children are living in poverty, and 36 per cent of food bank users are under 18.

Studies have shown poor nutrition impairs mental focus and development, enables behavioural issues and negatively affects health.

In 2009, the Food for Thought program started with the mission to provide breakfast in a few area schools.

The program has now expanded to 31 schools in SD 23, serving up to 1,600 children daily and is available to any student who comes to school hungry, whatever the reason may be.

Food for Thought has also launched a backpack program that provides students with food to take home for the weekend.

“I have received amazing feedback from students, parents, and teachers involved with both the breakfast and backpack programs,” said Jaden Cormack, Food for Thought program coordinator. “To hear that fighting between students has noticeably decreased, that students with poor attendance are showing up to school (even just to eat), and academic performance has improved, well, there isn’t a feeling quite like it.”

But to keep the program going, the helpers need help.

The cost to support a student for the breakfast program for a school year is just $150, or $6,000 for an entire school.

And the backpack program has been so well received it is being expanded.

To support a student for the school year is $325, and a school is $6,500, which provides weekend meals to 20 students and their families.

For more information and to donate, click here.

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