Published January 25, 2018 19:33
Did you know that 1 in 5 BC Children live in poverty? What we do know is when rent or housing costs eat up a big share of household income; food insecurity becomes an issue for families. The goal of Project Backpack is to provide families, who struggle with food insecurity, nutritious ingredients that they can use to feed their family over the weekend.
Project Backpack identifies and invites families who may struggle with food insecurity to receive a backpack each Friday. These backpacks are filled with nutritious, non-perishable food items to supplement what food they do have over the weekend. They also receive simple recipes and tips explaining what to do with the ingredients they receive. During the weekend, many other programs that families may be accessing are not operating, such as breakfast and lunch programs so this is a way to ensure that families have their basic food needs met.
The project has been running since September 2017 at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs and has had an outstanding impact on the five Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs participating; Webber, MACC, Downtown Youth Centre, Rutland and Lake Country. As a collective there are 25 families currently being assisted.
“This is a very rewarding program to be a part of”, says Sylvia Wells, Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Food and Nutrition Coordinator. When families are asked… Has Project Backpack helped your family? The responses are “Yes 110%!”; “Definitely it helps us get through those days until we can replenish our food!” and “This is a fantastic program, it really helps our budget.”
An impact this large would not be possible without the help of our community supporters. Thank you to Presidents Choice Children’s Charity who funds the program, the Central Okanagan Community Foodbank, who purchases food for the backpacks at a reduced rate, as well as to Independent Grocers who provides food discounts helping us stretch our budget so we can support more families. Last but definitely not least, thank you to Urban Systems who provides the backpacks and volunteers to help pack the food into the backpacks each week.
Food and Nutrition is a big priority for Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs. In the past year we have provided nearly 37,000 meals and more than 191,000 snacks to kids and families. We are constantly working to increase our efficiencies and capacities around food and nutrition. If you are interested in supporting our health and nutrition initiative, donate today.