Summer snack packs for children in need in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Rotary, food banks and other community groups help feed hungry kids
COLLEEN FLANAGAN / Wed Jul 19th, 2017 6:00pm

Children in need will no longer have to wait until the next school year to get much-needed meals and snacks.

For the first time summer kid packs will be handed out to children every week at locations across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Grocery bags will be filled with five drink boxes, seven granola bars, five fruit cups, two Bear Paws, three Kraft dinner microwaveable bowls and two Ritz cheese and cracker packs.

The program started last week, and will run until the end of the summer.

“We purchased already a whole bunch of supplies whenever they are on sale,” said Ineke Boekhorst, president of Meadowridge Rotary, which launched the Starfish Backpack project at the end of September.

The packs are made up of snacks children can easily access and make themselves.

“The kids that are getting this help at school… all of a sudden they are still very hungry but they are not getting the food at school anymore. We just want to help them through the summer,” added Boekhorst.

Meadowridge Rotary donated $3,000 in a presentation on July 18 to Brian Timmins, a board member of the Friends In Need Food Bank, who initiated the program.

It was started in a rush.

“Literally it was the second last day (of school),” he explained, when they got in touch with the principals of schools that are already serving the successful Meadowridge Rotary Starfish Backpack program and the Friends In Need Food Bank lunch program that feeds 500 children in elementary schools every day.

“We said we can’t go through another summer without these kids getting food, so le’ts put something together,” Timmins explained.

The Burnett Fellowship Church will be donating countless hours assembling the Summer Kid Packs. During the first two weeks of July 130 packs were filled.

Timmins is estimating a demand of 50 children per week.

This year they are working with elementary school children with the hope that next year they can expand to include the high schools.

“It’s a pilot program. We are going to base everything on what’s happening this summer. We want to evaluate what happens at the end of the summer. How well it was received. How many kids we served. What were the reactions?” said Boekhorst.

Through his work at the food bank, Timmins sees a definite need.

“Rental costs, housing pricing going up, you have to make a decision, do we have a roof on our head or food on the table? It’s tough. It’s really tough for a lot of parents, especially when minimum wage is $15 or $11 an hour. It’s impossible.”

Pickup Locations:

  • Friends In Need Food Bank Maple Ridge depot location during regular business hours 9 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Unit 8, 22728 Dewdney Trunk Rd.
  • Friends In Need Food Bank Pitt Meadows depot location Tuesday and Wednesday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at 12240 Harris Rd. at Grace Community Church.
  • Friends In Need Food Bank Maple Ridge depot – Unit 8 – 22728 Dewdney Trunk Rd., Mondays from 5-7 p.m.
  • Burnett Fellowship Church Wednesday nights from 5-7 p.m. located at 20639 123 Ave.
  • A depot will be setup just outside Glenwood Elementary School located at 21410 Glenwood Dr. from 9-11 a.m. every Friday from July 14 to Sept. 1 that will be handing out our Summer Kid Packs.
  • Greg Moore Youth Centre has stock of the Summer Kids Packs