The LINK Food Centre is distributing food packs to children in need, as part of Food Bank Canada’s “After the Bell” program.
“We only just received the packs. We have already distributed over 50 of them, but we have approximately 720 in total to distribute,” said Candice Little, the food centre manager.
After the Bell program, is a Food Banks Canada initiative to fill the child hunger gap that occurs during summer months. The program is targeted to specific communities all across Canada to receive eight weekly food packs with child-friendly, child-sized nutritious meals. In 2019, as many as 100,000 food packs were delivered to communities in 10 provinces and two territories.
Each of these packs contains some non-perishable and perishable, nutritious food for children. The children are given these packs directly “to help with their own personal food security over the summer months when school is not in session.” The food centre is also adding some fresh fruit and dairy to these packs in cases where they know that the packs would stay refrigerated. As an alternative, they are also adding applesauce and fruit cups.
The LINK food centre is partnering with several organizations in the community to ensure that the packs reach the hands of the children who need them. So far, the centre has partnered with WOW (Words on Wheels) bus, Ashurst Children’s Centre and a few small women’s groups.
“We are hoping to include, as a wrap up of this program, a “Back to School” pack for children which will be provided in an insulated lunch bag that they can continue to use for the upcoming school year,” said Little.
The insulated bags will be provided by The LINK, from a donation that the centre received after the 2018 wildfires. The centre is hoping to have 300 insulated bags ready for students a week before the school starts up this year.
Currently, the centre covers the Lakes District area, basically south to Francois Lake, Danskin, Southbank, Grassy Plains, east to the top of Priestley Hill, west to Topley, and north to Tachet & Granisle. They are also providing some support to the food bank in Fraser Lake and are hoping to distribute the school packs through them.
“We will continue as long as the packs last,” concluded Little.