Paddleboard fundraiser brings in more than $31,000 for program that feeds hungry Vernon families

$31K raised for 'Starfish'

Paddleboarders "stood up" for Vernon's Starfish Pack program.

The fifth annual Stand Up For ... challenge saw boarders paddle the 18-kilometre length of Kalamalka Lake to raise money.

The event took place Sept. 3 and had surpassed its $24,000 goal even before participants hit the water.

When all was said and done, they had raised $31,110 raised for Kalamalka Starfish Pack.

The funds will provide backpacks full of food each weekend to 50 children for the entire school year.

The backpacks are filled with two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners and snacks – enough to feed a family of four.

The annual fundraising challenge has now raised more than $131,000 for the community over its five years.

"We are thrilled to have not only met our goal but met our stretch goal, which means more children will get to benefit from the wonderful Starfish Pack program," said organizers Brittney Page and Kristin Postill.

"We are once again humbled by the generous support from local businesses and individuals alike. What started as a single fundraiser has grown into an annual event and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of our local community."

Previous beneficiaries of the paddle have been the Okanagan Rail Trail, KidSport Okanagan, People Place, and Archway Society.

"We are incredibly grateful," said Mary Jackson, chair of the Kalamalka Starfish Society.

"We know that more students who are experiencing food insecurity will greatly benefit from this fundraiser. We hope to expand the program over the coming year, so these funds will help us with that goal."

Kalamalka Rotary, which initiated the program, covers administrative costs, Save-On-Foods provides groceries at cost, and the Salvation Army provides storage and packing space.

The backpacks are packed by volunteers each week and delivered to participating schools in School District 22.

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