Rotary Club of Penticton, with support from Save-On foods, wants to help feed more school-aged children and their families this year with the Starfish Pack program.                                Submitted photo

Rotary Club of Penticton, with support from Save-On foods, wants to help feed more school-aged children and their families this year with the Starfish Pack program. Submitted photo

Rotary wants to expand program to help feed children

Rotary Club of Penticton looking for donations to help feed school-aged children and their families

After a successful launch of a program last year to make sure school-aged children and their families have food for the weekend, the Rotary Club of Penticton is ready to do it again.

Starfish pack is a program, launched in April 2017, that provides backpacks of food delivered to local pre-selected schools. The packs are loaded with food, with support from Save-On foods, and distributed to children on Friday and returned empty on Monday for the process to begin again.

Related: Starfish Pack program to feed children

“There is such a need in our community for this program. If money grew on trees, we would supply unlimited backpacks to all of the children in our community that go hungry on weekends,” said Tracy Van Raes, newly appointed Starfish Pack chair and Rotarian. “The fact is, money doesn’t grow on trees. One backpack of food for a year costs $525 and so we are turning to our community for assistance”

This program works in partnership with The Okanagan Boys & Girls Club and is happening in 15 cities around B.C. with more signing on every year.

The program was the recipient of a Community Foundation South Okanagan Similkameen grant that enabled Penticton to pilot this program with 11 backpacks in one school from April until the end of the school year.

“Since bringing attention to this program, we have received some amazing donations from local business owners and JCI Penticton which allow us to continue the program in September. From here we need to expand. The need is go great. 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,” said Van Raes.

Rotary Club of Penticton would like to increase the number of backpacks and grow to other schools within Penticton. To sponsor a child’s backpack for a year or get involved with fundraising, please contact Tracy Van Raes at tracy@totalrestore.ca. Donations can also be made directly to the Starfish Program by visiting http://starfishpack.com/penticton.