School District 27 (SD27) is providing scores of food packages to students.
“We’re putting food packages together for vulnerable families across this district,” says Calvin Dubray, who’s heading up the program. “Basically, we’ve put together a package that we hope could help support them for a week there.”
It’s not necessarily a full week of groceries but intended to be a foundation to build on, he says.
The packages include things like cereal, two litres of milk, eggs, bread, canned goods, granola bars, snacks for kids, he says.
“It’s quite a heavy package but we know it’s not necessarily going to be enough.”
The programs are being run out of Peter Skene Ogden Secondary School (PSO) in 100 Mile House and the Columneetza campus in Williams Lake. In 100 Mile House, they’ve been buying food at Save-On-Foods and FreshCo, with the latter also donating $1,000 in gift cards.
Daniel Broddy, the local FreshCo owner, says they’ll try to order more product to accommodate the SD27 purchases.
“I think it’s important for people to know this is happening as when they are shopping they are buying larger quantities of items which we want customers to be aware [of they] aren’t being purchased for hoarding.”
In the first week, SD27 put out 130 bags in the north end (Williams Lake and outlying areas) and 92 in the south end (100 Mile and outlying areas).
It was very well received in the first week of deliveries, says PSO principal Geoff Butcher, who’s been overseeing the effort in the South Cariboo.
“We got most of our educational assistants working on it down here packing. We do on-site all of the organization and packing and then the bus drivers distribute based on where the kids are at.”
It takes about three days to do the shopping, packing and delivering, he says.
“We usually start Tuesday and do the deliveries on Thursday.”
In the South Cariboo, more than 100 families have signed up now as more people learned about it or have increased need, says Butcher.
Organizations in the community have now also started reaching out because they’ve heard about the program and are looking to send some of the items they normally send out to parents through the school, says Butcher.
“They’re finding it tough to get people to come into town from outlying areas to get food. So, a lot of the coordination now is coming from other agencies in the community that are sort of piggybacking on what we’re doing so that’s a good thing too.”
It’s been a real team effort, says Dubray.
They usually run a Breakfast Club of Canada program at Marie Sharpe Elementary, says Dubray, where he was set to return as principal after Spring Break following some sickness in November.
The Breakfast Club contacted them to tell them to exhaust all their funds and also provided a $10,000 emergency response grant to the district, says Dubray. Others have also been chipping in, he adds.
Anyone looking to donate can contact Dubray at 250-302-1756.