The City of Penticton will be proclaiming November as Starfish backpack month, a program that works throughout BC to help kids with food security.
The Rotary Club of Penticton started the “Starfish Backpack Program” in April 2017 as a response to teachers being concerned over local children heading home worried about where food for weekend meals would come from.
The program began by supplying one elementary school with 10 starfish packs of weekend food necessities for their most in-need students, and has since expanded to providing food assistance for 60 kids in 9 local elementary schools every weekend of the school year.
The program sees support from local volunteer organizations and businesses, where these partnerships helped add on more schools in early 2020.
Studies found that educators noticed that children who didn’t have sufficient food over the weekend were coming to school on Monday tired and unable to concentrate.
Due to COVID-19 safety concerns, the Penticton Starfish Committee changed to giving out gift cards from the Penticton Save-On foods to 60 students (and their families) instead of packing bags.This program is working to provide families to purchase some necessities to help keep everyone fed over the weekend.
Mayor John Vassilaki and the councillors will proclaim November 2020 as “Starfish Backpack Month” in the City of Penticton at Tuesday’s meeting.
The cost of a backpack per year was around $675 for each student. Businesses and individuals interested in getting involved or donating can contact the Starfish Pack program through their Facebook page.
The Penticton group is also continuing its fundraising efforts, hosting an online auction during the month of November. The team is reaching out to the community and asking for items to donate. Cutoff to donate items is Nov. 9 and the auction which will launch on Nov. 15.