Ron Malmas, Rotary Club of Terrace-Skeena Valley public relations chair, introduces the Starfish Pack launch program at the Terrace Curling Club on August 3. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Rotary launches program to help feed hungry students

The Terrace Skeena Valley Rotary club hosted a Starfish Pack event August 3

A new initiative, the Starfish Pack Backpack program, will begin this fall providing food for hungry students over the weekends.

While the school district has breakfast and lunch programs running throughout the week, the Starfish program organizer, Rotary Club of Terrace-Skeena Valley public relations chair Ron Malmas, said there are numerous students in Terrace who don’t have easy access to food when the weekend arrives.

“I’ve heard of the need of well over 200 young voices that could be within need of this program,” he said. “This gets to assist [the student] and their family, who may not be making ends meet, to stretch their dollar a little bit further,” he said.

Started in Abbotsford in 2013, the Starfish Pack Backpack program works with community volunteers to pack two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks into individual backpacks of food for students. The packs, which rotate through six meal plans, are delivered each Friday to participating schools for students to take home on the weekends.

Malmas has been involved with the program for the past four years and helped get it started in Williams Lake, where the program grew from six backpacks to 44 in one year.

Hosted by the Rotary Club of Terrace-Skeena Valley and Coast Mountain School District 82, the program’s launch at the Terrace Curling Club on August 3 raised $1,500 to buy the backpacks themselves, with 43 sponsors donating $22,575 to pay for the food. The program will launch in two schools this fall, providing 22 backpacks out of a possible 44 to start.

“It doesn’t cost the school district any money at all, it doesn’t cost any labour to the school district at all, it’s the community who delivers it to help starving children who would go without nutrition over the weekend,” Malmas said.

According to B.C. First Call’s 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card, 153,300 children — or 1 in 5 — are growing up in poverty. When hungry, the ability of students to learn in the classroom is hindered. A 2017 Kellog Canada survey found teachers estimated that children who go to school hungry can lose about two hours of productivity per day.

Sending students home with food for the weekends can prepare them for a better Monday start, Malmas said.

“When a starving student is helped along the way where they can achieve a goal that they might not have been able to achieve with an empty stomach, things go for the greater, it’s always worked for the better.”

Terrace the 18th community in the province to bring in the Starfish Pack program, which will begin during the first couple weeks of the school year.


 


brittany@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

The Starfish Packs rotate through six meal plans for students to take home on the weekend, with two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners with snacks tucked into individual backpacks. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Just Posted

More fencing installed along CN tracks

City using federal grant to help pay for cost

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Illegal dumping pushes BC Conservation to the tipping point

Terrace office may bring violators to court to seek higher penalties

Eden Robinson talks Trickster Drift in Terrace

More than 160 people packed into the Art Gallery to see the award-winning author

UNBC ranks second on Maclean’s Magazine’s list

The Prince George university has regional campuses in Quesnel and Terrace

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Picket lines went up at 4 a.m Tuesday, Oct. 16 at Tolko Lakeview Division in Williams Lake

Toronto Police ID B.C. man as naked shark tank jumper

David Weaver, of Nelson, is wanted on mischief and assault charges

In Florida, families seeking the missing amid storm damage

Five days after the hurricane slammed into the Florida Panhandle, people are struggling to locate friends and loved ones.

Prince Harry and Meghan start Aussie tour with baby gifts

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on a 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

EU’s Barnier hopes Brexit deal possible in ‘coming weeks’

Britain is set to leave the European Union in March, but a Brexit agreement must be sealed in coming weeks to leave enough time for relevant parliaments to ratify it.

Earth samples show dust from B.C. pipeline blast not a health threat: Enbridge

Enbridge says earth sampling shows mineral and metal composition is well below provincial and federal standards for urban and residential areas.

Postal services ready for looming wave of legal cannabis deliveries

Legal cannabis is set to usher in a wave of high-value, age-restricted parcels in the mail system, and delivery companies say they’re ready.

Mega Millions prize of $654M is nation’s 4th-largest

No one has won the U.S. jackpot in almost three months

Most Read