As the school year gets fully underway, there are many children whose families are in poverty.
In 2017, the Rotary Club of Penticton created the Starfish Backpack program to help those children to stay fed over the weekends, when the other breakfast and brown-bag lunch programs supported by the school and community groups aren’t available.
The program started with providing students at a single elementary school 10 backpacks of food necessities for the weekend. Since then, with the support and donations from the community, the program provides food for up to 60 kids in nine elementary schools for every weekend of the school year.
The Elks Lodge in Penticton opened up their facility in January of 2020 to provide yearly funding and volunteers to assemble the backpacks. And as students return to school again, they have raised and donated $5,000 to the program.
The Starfish Backpack program, in partnership with Penticton Save-On Foods and Big Jay’s Express to provide the food, now provides families with supplemental meal items for two breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners along with snacks and some fresh produce.
In 2020 the City of Penticton and Mayor John Vassalaki proclaimed every November as Starfish Backpack program month.
For people who are interested in supporting the program, you can go to their page on Canada Helps at www.Canadahelps.org/en/charities/Penticton-speedway-foundation.
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