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Starfish Pack Program in Abbotsford seeks bigger space to sort food

Capacity issues result in program having wait list for first time
A group of volunteers from Longboard Products is shown in the existing Starfish Pack distribution area at Central Heights Church in Abbotsford. (Submitted photo)

A program that provides food-filled backpacks to students every weekend in Abbotsford is in need of a larger space to sort food.

The Starfish Pack Program currently stores food at the Archway Food Bank and in a truck before the items are distributed to 14 volunteer groups at Central Heights Church.

But Rebecca Thuro, programs supervisor at the food bank, said the packs are now being distributed to double the number of students than in 2020.

Currently, 730 students in 41 elementary, middle, and high schools receive a weekly pack full of food to eat over the weekend when they don’t have access to school meals.

Since September, 12,494 packs have already been delivered, and the Starfish Pack Program expects to distribute more than 25,700 packs by the end of the school year.

“Capacity issues mean we have a wait list for the first time,” Thuro said.

The program has already made space-saving changes that allowed them to help an additional 70 students, but Thuro said they cannot fit any more food to help the 20 students currently on the wait list.

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“We have the volunteers and some financial support to accommodate more students but simply don’t have the space,” she said.

“We are so grateful for Central Heights Church and their immense generosity in allowing us to use their facilities for the past couple years, but we have physically outgrown the available space.”

The program is looking for a new space to sort food each week. The main requirements for the space are double doors, room to hold 12 or more pallets, and available to use from Tuesday afternoons to Thursday mornings.

Thuro said the program can pay a modest amount of rent and is working with real estate agents to find a suitable space but wanted to put the request out to the community as well.

“It’s an unusual request but our community has always come through in the past through COVID, the floods and more,” she said.

Anyone who knows of a potential space can contact or 604-859-5749 (ext. 28).

Those who wish to help support food for students in Abbotsford or to help with rent costs can make a donation at

This is an example of the types of foods included in the Starfish Pack Program every week through the school year. (Submitted photo)

Abbotsford News Staff

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