With statistics showing that one in five children in B.C. are growing up in poverty, a Kelowna group is aiming to eliminate hunger one child at a time with a new breakfast program for Central Okanagan school kids.
Hope for the Nations took over operation of Kelowna’s Food for Thought program in the 2017/18 school year, 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 (SD 23) on this program to help support education and learning by ensuring students aren’t attending school hungry.”
The program relies heavily on the public for support.
Volunteering one hour of time provides 50 breakfasts and 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.
On Tuesday, Hope for the Nations received a Telus Community Grant to support the program. 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 Freeze Hunger campaign which launched on 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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