The Starfish Pack program from the Penticton Rotary is back for its third year running, providing backpacks of food to local schoolchildren and their families on weekends.
Participating children receive the backpacks, full of food for breakfasts, lunches and dinners made possible in part by Save-On Foods, every Friday after school. They are returned empty on Monday for the process to begin again.
The program relies on the support of the community to continue.
"There is such a need in our community for this program. The sad reality is that kids in our community are going hungry every day. We can never say no to these kids now that they rely on these backpacks.” Tracy Van Raes, Starfish Pack Chair and Rotarian.
“To sponsor one local child with one backpack of food for a year comes at a cost of $525 and so we are turning to our community and local businesses for assistance. How many children would you like to sponsor this school year?”
The program takes place in 19 cities around B.C. with more signing on each year. Starfish has received grants from the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan, donations from local business owners, recognition from 100 Women Who Care and 100 Men Who Care and much more.
"Children in our community are coming to school hungry on Monday mornings. That child might be your neighbour or that child might sit next to your son or daughter in a classroom every day," Van Raes said.
This year, the program is increasing to 48 backpacks at six schools, an increase of three packs and one school from 2018.
To sponsor a child's backpack for a year or get involved with fundraising, contact Van Raes at [email protected].
More information can be found at the Starfish Program Facebook page here.