After starting with just three students in 2020, the Similkameen Starfish Pack program has grown to support 16, and so has the need for financial support for the program.
The Starfish Pack program provides students at Cawston Elementary School and Similkameen Elementary Secondary School with food to take home over the weekends.
The program is modelled after the Abbotsford program, which means the food is chosen for being nutritious and easy to cook and combine with other food that families might already have.
The whole program costs about $25 a student for each week, which adds up to around $900 a student per year.
So far, funding has come from personal donations, and from the Community Foundation of South Okanagan Similkameen, but that is no longer enough to sustain the program.
Going into the third school year since it began, the growing number of students in need has the program looking for sponsors willing to fully or partially support a student.
“I realized after the first year, going ahead with this program, that nobody knew about it,” said organizer Josée Rouleau. “When we [volunteers] brainstormed, it came to our attention that having public recognition would help us to raise funds.”
Rouleau and four other volunteers work to put together the packs for distribution.
In addition to the Lower Similkameen Community Services Society, which accepts and forwards donations to the program, the Keremeos Buy-Low Foods and Cawston Cold Storage are also partners. The owner of Cawston Cold Storage has donated apples to kids for every week of the program.
“It’s different from a usual donation, because that adds up quickly,” said Rouleau.
“Overall, if I were to some it up, it’s a food security program for students for which we’re looking for sponsors.”
The program is discrete, and for those who need assistance, they can approach their school’s principal to discuss the program.
More information about the program, as well as to sign up as a sponsor or to make a donation can be found online at www.lscss.com.
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