Chilliwack community partners are coming together to feed kids and deliver food hampers to 23 schools. (Black Press files)

Chilliwack community partners are coming together to feed kids and deliver food hampers to 23 schools. (Black Press files)

Chilliwack partners unite to make sure kids don’t go hungry during the pandemic

Food donations to be dropped off Tuesday, April 7, at Salvation Army Church on Brooks Avenue

Community partners have jumped into action this week to ensure that Chilliwack children will not go hungry during the COVID 19 pandemic.

Hampers of food are set to start being delivered to 23 schools across Chilliwack on Wednesday.

To make it happen, an urgent call has gone out for food bank donations to be dropped off on Tuesday, April 7, at the Salvation Army Church on Brooks Avenue.

“This is really a product of a whole raft of organizations getting together to do this,” said Diane Janzen, executive director of Chilliwack Community Services.

When children are in school, typically hundreds of them are fed daily through school food programs fuelled by donations and volunteers.

“During this critical time, it is essential that we ensure that children in our community are fed and that their basic needs are met. In a spirit of collaboration and cooperation, we are dedicated to making sure this happens,” according to the news release for the feed-the-children initiative.

This effort was put together quickly by community partners, recognizing that food programs delivered by the Bowls of Hope Society, the Starfish Back Pack program of Chilliwack Community Services and the Rotary Clubs in Chilliwack, have been temporarily stymied.

The Bowls of Hope program alone was feeding 850 children a day and the Starfish Back Pack Program was providing food to 159 families in need every weekend. The Rotary Club of Chilliwack provided their Breakfast and Literacy program at four elementary schools.

But with schools shuttered in the pandemic, there was a need for some co-ordination and volunteers to replace those programs.

Starting Wednesday, April 8, weekly food hampers will be prepared by the Chilliwack Salvation Army Food Bank with the support of volunteers and community partners including the Bowls of Hope Society, Starfish Backpack, the United Way of the Lower Mainland, all Chilliwack Rotary Clubs and the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce.

These hampers will be delivered to the school sites, and then later picked up by families with everyone using the appropriate social distancing, organized by the Chilliwack school district.

“We also welcome community volunteers and donations for this initiative.”

Contact information is included below.

In addition, there is a special call for food donations to support this program. In preparation for the food hampers, there are certain items that are always needed and we welcome food donations Tuesday, April 7, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Salvation Army Church at 46420 Brooks Avenue, Chilliwack.

The following food items are needed:

• 500 mg peanut butter

• Ravioli, spaghetti and other canned pasta items

• Canned ham, chicken and fish

If you are not able to drop off these items at the Brooks Avenue location on Tuesday, please drop of at the Salvation Army Share and Care Centre located at 45746 Yale Road, during normal business hours.

Program Coordination Information (To Volunteer, Receive Services or Get More Information):

Jane Ullyot – Jane_ullyot@sd33.bc.ca – 604-750-0508

To Donate:

Shirley Triemstra, Fundraising, Coordinator – Chilliwack Community Services – triemstras@comserv.bc.ca – 604-798-7164

Donate online at www.comserv.bc.ca (designate to Starfish Back Pack Program) or mail/drop off through the mail slot at Chilliwack Community Services, 45938 Wellington Avenue, Chilliwack, B.C., V2P 2C7

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