Starfish Packs, which provides two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and snacks for local vulnerable children to take home every weekend, is 100% community funded and staffed. With no paid staff and no government funding, the program relies entirely on local community support for both funding and volunteers.
What started in a single school in Abbotsford in the spring of 2013 has grown to over 20 BC communities. Starfish Packs will be delivered this school year in Abbotsford, Surrey, Chilliwack, Delta, Aldergrove, Langley, Mission, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Vernon, Williams Lake, and more. All local donations remain in the communities where they are made.
In Surrey, we are aware of the existence of breakfast and lunch program in many schools. Research indicates that 13,000 Surrey residents – 41% of whom are children – turn to food banks to meet the basic human need for food security. The social costs of food insecurity are high, with lost economic productivity, poorer educational outcomes, and erosion of dignity for these Surrey residents. Surrey has “ 11 of the 20 poorest neighborhoods in BC. 40.5% of residents in Guildford and 42.7% of residents in Newton report annual household incomes under $40,000. Lone parent households are particularly challenged with regard to accessing affordable food, and one in four experiences disrupted food intake and eating patterns.
At a cost of $575 per child for the whole school year, the program only spends $15-$18 per week to provide six meals in each weekly backpack. Working with the local grocer, Starfish Packs is maximizing every single donated dollar and working towards its mandate to change the world, one child at a time.
The Starfish Pack program is a weekend food security initiative that provides 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners each week to 60 Surrey families. We have received a grant in the amount of $5,000 from this Emergency Fund. These funds have been used to purchase 270 food cards from Save On Foods each in the amount of $20. These food cards have been distributed to the 4 local elementary schools that we support.
We are very grateful for the support from the Federal Government and the SurreyCares Community Foundation. Together we are making a difference in the community.
Our Surrey Medical Heroes Supporting the Community
30 Members of the Surrey Memorial Hospital (SMH) Hospitalist Group, have dug deep and provided personal contributions totalling $11,825 to the Starfish Pack Program in Surrey.
These amazing people spend their days and nights saving lives in Surrey, and they also care so much for hungry kids that they are happy to also spend their dollars. Organized by Dr. Baldeep Toor, who was aware the Starfish project was having difficulty fundraising in this difficult period for us all.
Starfish is a weekend food program offering 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches and 2 Dinners to 60 families at 4 Elementary Schools in Surrey. This amazing gift will provide food for 20 families during the next School year.
Starfish has been operating in Surrey for 4 years and is run by the Rotary Club of Surrey, Rotary Club of Surrey-Newton, and many other community partners such as the Salvation Army, Surrey School District, and the City of Surrey. The local Rotary Clubs have provided Save On Food gift certificates in the amount of $20 weekly, for all 60 families during this period when the Schools have been closed.
Information and donations to this worthwhile project can be completed here or by cheque payable to the Rotary Club of Surrey Foundation and mailed to PO Box 181, Surrey BC V3T 4W8. Our heartfelt thanks go out to these 30 Heros.
Pictured: Dr. Baldeep Toor from Surrey Memorial Hospital and Bryce McElroy Treasurer of the Rotary Club of Surrey.
Deirdre GoudriaanCoordinator of the Surrey/White Rock Food Action Coalition
"Starfish Pack plays an important role in contributing to the long-term health of children and families by enhancing nutrition and access to health food."
Denise DarrellExecutive Director of Sources
"I like that the food goes directly to families and children. I also appreciate that this program provides a community-driven solution to the fact that hunger is not just a 9-5 issue."
Maggie BaynhamSustainability Planner with the City of Surrey
"Starfishpack's a great opportunity to build connections with families in need, as Seeds of Change Surrey explores other ways to help neighborhoods become more food secure"
Lynn SpenceAssistant Governor Area E, Rotary District 5050
"Children and families in Surrey need the support that the Starfish Pack each weekend can provide: For children - a chance to be sufficiently nourished on weekends. When they return to school on Monday they can put their attention to learning, rather than to hungry "tummies" For families - less worry about supplying healthy food for their children"
Louise GibbsMember of Rotary Club of Surrey Guildford
"I first heard about the Starfish Pack project at a Rotary conference where a fellow Rotarian made his presentation. I know firsthand from my time as a police officer that poverty is a very big issue in the lower mainland but to see it through the eyes of a child was a real eye opener for me. The Starfish Pack project seems a perfect way to bring awareness to the issue and to help one child at a time. I am so excited to be involved in bringing this project to Surrey and to see it spending in BC and elsewhere."
Melissa MinaMember of Rotary Club of Surrey Guildford
"Too often do we get caught up in worldwide issues when we speak of poverty and hunger. We think of children starving in far-off, war-torn countries, not realizing that they are also starving just blocks from where we live. The Starfish Pack program in Surrey may be small for now, but it is tangible and sustainable - a real start to ending hunger, one home at a time."
We are so thankful for our
The Rotary Club of Surrey Foundation is our host charity. When you click the button, you will be redirected to their CanadaHelps donation page for Surrey Starfish Pack.
Cheque donations can also be mailed to:
Surrey Starfish Pack Program
c/o Rotary Club of Surrey Foundation
PO Box 181
Thank you for your generosity! Your donation makes a huge difference in our community!