Statistics Canada says that one in five children in B.C. are growing up in poverty.
That is higher than the national average, as every day 4,500 school aged children in the Central Okanagan are at risk of going to school hungry.
Kelowna’s Food for Thought program aims to change that statistic, with the support of a Telus Community Grant.
The non-profit Hope for the Nations took over operation of Kelowna’s Food for Thought program starting in the 2017-18 school year.
The program aims to eliminate hunger, one child at a time by providing free breakfast in 30 schools to 1,500 school aged children a day throughout the Central Okanagan.
“We know empty stomachs limit children’s ability to reach their full potential personally, academically and socially,” said Patricia Phillips, executive director of Hope for the Nations.
“We’re excited to be able to partner with the Central Okanagan Public Schools on this program to help support education and learning by ensuring students aren’t attending school hungry.”
While the program relies heavily on public charitable support, the volunteer supporters of this initiative have also made a huge impact.
Volunteering one hour of time provides 50 breakfasts. Food for Thought provides half of its food to schools through donations and reclaimed food, valued at $125,000 per year.
Reclaiming food also helps to reduce wasted food (30 to 50 per cent of food that is produced is wasted) and increases access for those in need. The other half of food is purchased with funds received from grants, donations, and sponsors.
The formal presentation of the Telus grant to Hope for the Nations will take place Dec. 5, 8:30 a.m., at New Life Church in Kelowna, 2041 Harvey Ave. The grant will be used to supplement the feeding program and provide necessary equipment and required supplies.
Hope for the Nations is hoping to raise further funding for the local program through their upcoming ‘Freeze Hunger’ campaign, to be launched Dec. 1. The campaign will invite supporters to Freeze Hunger by sponsoring the program on a yearly, monthly, or per child basis.
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