Delta Firefighters Charitable Society has launched a new initiative aimed at providing healthy snacks for local students.
The organization has partnered with the Real Canadian Superstore on Scott Road and liaised with the Delta School District to purchase, organize and deliver the snacks to designated schools in Delta.
Program co-ordinator Warren Balzer said he helped start the program because he knows how important good nutrition is to learning and development.
“There was a great need for this program before the pandemic began, but over the past year the situation has amplified the number of children in need of nutritional support,” Balzer said in a press release.
Kirsten Hermanson, district manager for prevention and school wellness with the Delta School District, said the program helps alleviate financial stress for families by providing kids easy access to snacks so they don’t go hungry and are able to concentrate and learn.
“There are no barriers as [kids] can grab snacks whenever they feel hungry. This program also helps to build community relationships and the children get so excited when they see the fire trucks pull up to make the deliveries,” Hermanson said in a press release.
Since its launch in March, the Delta Firefighters Healthy Snack Program currently supports six North Delta schools — Burnsview Secondary, North Delta Secondary, Chalmers Elementary, Jarvis Elementary, McCloskey Elementary and Hellings Elementary — with one school around 40 children per day. The society plans to expand the program to many more schools in both North and South Delta come September.
Funding for the program comes directly from Delta firefighters via the member payroll deduction program, with 93 per cent of the department’s members donating every pay period.
In December 2020, using funds generated through the payroll deduction program, Delta firefighters completed a three-year, $100,000 commitment to the Delta Hospital and Community Health Foundation to fund the radiography room in the new Toigo Diagnostics Services Building.
Previously, the society sponsored an accommodation suite, also valued at $100,000, at the BC Professional Fire Fighters Burn Fund Center building in Vancouver, which supports burn survivors and trauma patients with free accommodation while they receive treatment.
With those two campaigns completed, the society is now focused on establishing this new program to ensure school-aged children in Delta received proper nutrition.
“I’m so proud of Delta Fire Fighters and the launch of this program. Once again, they are finding a need within the community and coming together to fulfill that need,” Delta Fire Chief Guy McKintuck said in a press release.
“The fact that this program is being funded by members through the payroll deduction program and firefighters are volunteering to co-ordinate and deliver the snacks, this truly demonstrates how we can make a positive difference in our community.”