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Thank you for giving me hopeThe Director of the Abbotsford Food Bank, Dave Murray, was faced with a very real problem.  His daughter, who is a teacher at an Abbotsford elementary school, had children in her class that was coming to school Monday morning reporting they had not eaten over the weekend. Without food, the children tended to experience an inability to focus, behavioural outbursts and poor academic outcomes. Dave was determined to answer his daughter with a help.

 

After one school year of giving out six backpacks to meet the overt needs of one pilot school, Rotary joined the team. The Rotary Club of Abbotsford caught the vision right away. Their enthusiasm and ability to gather people around this need has been a force to be reckoned with. Together with the Abbotsford School district, 400 children have been identified as being in extreme need. Two years after their partnership, we are feeding over 244 elementary kids in Abbotsford, with the vision to start feeding kids in middle and high school. This wouldn’t be possible without the hundreds of volunteers that give their time to shop, assemble and deliver the backpacks every week.

 

” We are feeding over 244 elementary kids in Abbotsford”

 

 

Each week volunteers pack two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and healthy snacks into each backpack with food for the weekend and deliver the backpacks to the participating elementary schools. Teachers have reported improvements in children’s reading skills, math skills, ability to focus and to do partner work.

This program is changing lives. Will you partner with us? Click Donate to join us in feeding Abbotsford most vulnerable children over the weekend.

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Chilliwack Teacher

When students realized the food was coming home every week without fail, a few of them started sharing some of the food with others who also needed it but were not receiving a backpack. This act of generosity brought tears to my eyes.

Abbotsford Youth Care Worker

"One family used the back pack program for a year and it helped the mother after suddenly getting separated and having 4 children and not working she managed to get back on her feet with the help of the back pack program, it lessened her burden while she looked for a job and had money to get school supplies and clothing for her children. Families are very appreciative of the program and look forward to the backpack."

Abbotsford Elementary School Teacher

“I asked a student of mine about the Starfish Pack program and this is what he told me. ‘The backpack really helps us, because we don't have a lot of food at home, or a lot of money to get food. It helps to make things better for us at home.’ This program reaches out to those in need and this cause has a real soft spot in my heart. It’s painful to see kids go hungry and to know they are going home to very little. You have no idea the difference Starfish Packs makes during the day for our students. ”

Chilliwack Mother

“For a single mom of three kids, this was truly a blessing to receive every Friday. I appreciated it as well as my kids. Thank you for taking the time to help us and other families out.”

Abbotsford Parent

"My girls are so happy when they get home on Friday to open up their backpack to see what they get for the weekend. If it wasn't for the backpack program, I don't know where we would be."

Principal

/ Abbotsford Elementary School

Three of our students suddenly “took off” last year as readers. All three were in Grade 3, two of the three were in the Starfish backpack program and all three received other interventions. What the three had in common was a lack of social and emotional capital to learn. They had low self-esteem, their home situations were uncertain at best and chaotic and even toxic at times, at the worst. Food security was one of the pieces for two of these kids that made a difference. They went from total non-readers in November last year to being almost caught up with their grade 3 peers in June. Remarkable. There were many reasons for their learning to read; we don’t know how much of an impact having food on a weekend made, both from a nutrition point of view and from an anxiety aspect. These boys went home on Fridays as providers, and that made a difference in how they perceived themselves. Thank you.

Principal

/ Abbotsford Elementary School

One of our school’s recipient’s of Rotary’s Starfish Pack Program is a grade 2 girl who lives with her widowed mother. The young girl’s mother has gone without many of the basics that most of us take for granted. Previously she would do without for herself to be sure that her daughter had snacks and foods every day. She gives her daughter the very best she can and we are glad to be able to offer her an economic and emotional ‘boost’ through Rotary’s Starfish Pack Program this year.

Principal

/ Abbotsford Elementary School

Until you have lived through the experience of the changes, you can’t truly understand the magnitude of the positive impact that children having food on a regular basis has on their lives. Imagine how this can positively impact their future and ability to live up to their true potential.

Abbotsford Parent

"Being a low-income house, we greatly appreciate the bags you send home. It may be meant for one student only, but it makes a big difference for the 4 of us. Thank you for this wonderful program."

Abbotsford Starfish Pack

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