More North Okanagan students faced with food insecurity seek help

Fighting food insecurity

Food insecurity affects 18 per cent of families across the province, and the North Okanagan is no exception, according to the Kalamalka Starfish Society.

The society manages the Kalamalka Starfish program which provides 240 weekend bags of food to 20 elementary, middle, and alternate schools in the North Okanagan. The bags provide students experiencing food insecurity two of each breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, as well as snacks, veggies and fruit over the weekends.

“The Starfish Program has experienced a 66 per cent increase in the number of students served since the last school year,” said Darryl O’Brian, Starfish director of operations.

School identify students at risk and arrange permission from parents, food is provided by the Save-On-Food in Village Green Mall at cost. Wayside delivers the bags to a packing location and about 50 volunteers help deliver the bags.

The society is piloting a summer food program to help students facing food insecurity when schools are closed for the summer during July and August.

The spring fundraising campaign is kicking off to provide the summer program and weekend bags for the 2024-25 school year. People interested in donating can find more information online.

“The rising costs of food and housing make it challenging for families to ensure their children have enough to eat,” said Mary Jackson, president of the Kalamalka Starfish Society. “This isn’t just about filling stomachs; it's about creating an environment where every child can thrive. Regular, nutritious food improves student health, learning and overall well-being.”

The society recently celebrated its eighth year anniversary.

More Vernon News