North Delta Rotary volunteers with some of the 130 Starfish Packs the club distributes to kids in need each week. (North Delta Rotary Club photo)

North Delta Rotary volunteers with some of the 130 Starfish Packs the club distributes to kids in need each week. (North Delta Rotary Club photo)

North Delta Rotary Club helps feed over 250 kids each week

It costs over $600 to supply a child with a weekly food package throughout the school year

Every Thursday morning, North Delta Rotary volunteers meet at Deltassist’s Scott Road office to await the arrival of a Save-On-Foods delivery truck, and after the truck arrives, 130 food packages are prepared and delivered to 14 elementary schools throughout the community.

The following afternoon, school staff distribute the food packs to kids based on need, with each package helping feed on average more than two children over the weekend.

The North Delta Rotary Club started its Starfish Pack program on a modest scale in 2016, delivering a half-dozen backpacks per week to a single elementary school. By June of 2020, 60 backpacks were being delivered each week to elementary schools across North Delta.

Demand for the Starfish Packs has doubled over the past two years, and the impact of COVID-19, rising grocery and living costs, and the winding down of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program has created additional hardship for North Delta households.

A few years ago, the club was struggling to fund a fraction of its current demand.

“Without the generosity of our sponsors and our donors, we would not have been able to continue feeding the existing children, let alone meet the doubling of demand over the past two years,” club president David Brown said in a press release.

“In particular, we want to recognize substantial donations from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, G&F Financial Group and the City of Delta, mayor and council to the North Delta Starfish Pack program. We appreciate our partnerships with Deltassist Family and Community Services Society, who provides space for our operations, and Save-On-Foods, who delivers food weekly at a discount to the prices on its store shelves.”

Each pack contains enough food for six meals, including cereals, oatmeal, pasta and pasta sauce, whole wheat English muffins, whole wheat tortillas, tuna or other canned meats, a variety of soups, chilli, peanut butter, jam, canned vegetables, fresh fruit and granola bars. The contents of each backpack are adjusted for dietary preferences (e.g. vegetarian) and food allergies.

It costs in excess of $600 to supply a child with a weekly food package throughout a school year, and the club delivers 130 food packages at the cost of $2,500 per week.

As the program is run by volunteers, on premises provided at no cost by Deltassist, there is no overhead, meaning nearly every dollar raised is spent on food for children.

Starfish Pack funding comes via a combination of donations by residents and community groups, corporate foundation donations, B.C. Gaming and COVID-19 funding from federal programs.

For more on the program, visit starfishpack.com/delta or northdeltarotaryclub.com.



editor@northdeltareporter.com

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