Displaying the cheque at the regular Thursday meeting to fill the backpacks are Aldergrove Rotary members Charlie Fox, Rob Robinson, Lara Petrie and Marilyn Froese, plus Christmas Tea committee member, Diane Fox. (Special to The Star)

Displaying the cheque at the regular Thursday meeting to fill the backpacks are Aldergrove Rotary members Charlie Fox, Rob Robinson, Lara Petrie and Marilyn Froese, plus Christmas Tea committee member, Diane Fox. (Special to The Star)

$6,500 donated to the Aldergrove Starfish Backpack Program

Thank You for Caring Society raised funds at their annual Christmas Tea to help feed hungry students

Thank You for Caring Society donated $6,500 to the Aldergrove Starfish Backpack Program with funds raised at their annual Christmas Tea – a tribute to the late Debbie Froese.

This donation comes as the Starfish Backpack Program commemorates six years of providing weekend food for hungry kids in Aldergrove, said Charlie Fox, Co-ordinator of the Aldergrove Starfish Program.

Speaking to the Aldergrove Rotary Club on Friday April 16, Parkside Elementary School principal, Cathy Gracie, who was Parkside’s vice principal when the Program started, said the Starfish backpacks are critical to the 30 families participating.

“They really count on the weekend food that comes home every Friday afternoon,” she emphasized.

READ MORE: $200,000 in donations help feed hungry Langley student

It was six years ago this month – the first Friday after Spring Break in 2015 – that the first Starfish backpacks provided hungry school kids with food for the weekend.

Agreeing to be part of the Rotary pilot program to test the system and the need, Parkside and Shortreed Elementary schools each identified 10 students who were coming to school hungry Monday mornings and organized distribution of the trial backpacks until year end.

In six years, those 20 Starfish backpacks morphed into 65; the number of schools grew from two to four, and in total over 13,000 nutritious, easy-to-prepare weekend meals have made their way into the homes of hungry kids in Aldergrove.

“The ongoing financial support from community organizations such as the Thank You for Caring Society has helped the program grow and secure not only the future of the Starfish Program, but also the future of those students for whom learning on an empty stomach was next to impossible,” Fox added. “We look forward to many more years of providing this type of help to families in need.”

More information can be found at starfishpack.com.

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