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Food for Thought has made some great strides over the past year, increasing the number of schools in which we operate, and developing new and innovative programs to help combat hunger for children in need.
There are over 4,500 children in the Central Okanagan that live in a food insecure home and are at risk of going to school hungry. We know that a hungry child is more likely to act out and less likely to achieve their personal potential. We have seen happy productive classrooms with reduced behavioral problems, increased academic performance, and a stronger sense of community.
Here are the programs we’ll be taking into 2019:
The Breakfast Program provides free breakfast for up to 1600 school-aged children a day in 29 schools. This consists of bagels, bread, fresh fruit, muffins, oatmeal, cream cheese, cheese strings, yogurt, fresh jam, and more!
The Backpack Program ensures hungry tummies are filled when children are not in school. Our pilot project was launched this past April and has proven to be a great success. We developed a choice based model by which children and their families can access the community pantry and fill their backpack before going home each weekend. This year our pilot program served 23 students in one school with 11,120 pounds of food. It is our goal to expand this program to include an additional eight schools in our community.
Living Salads, in partnership with Hands in Service, provides planters to families filled with tomatoes, parsley, chives, leaf lettuce, and swiss chard that will replenish throughout the season. This year 181 planters were distributed in 16 schools.
Fruit Preservation, in partnership with the Okanagan Tree Fruit Project, received fresh Okanagan fruit that was donated throughout the summer months. Our volunteer teams then pitted, chopped, sliced, diced, and preserved hundreds of pounds of fruit. We now have over 500 jars of jam and fresh frozen fruit ready to be blended into a delicious and healthy smoothie.
If you’d like to learn more about Food for Thought, become a volunteer, or find out how else you can get involved, take a look at the Food for Thought project page: