Starfish program wins international recognition

The Starfish Pack program, a joint project between the Abbotsford Food Bank and the Abbotsford Rotary Club

The Starfish Pack Program

The Starfish Pack Program

The Starfish Pack program, a joint project between the Abbotsford Food Bank and the Abbotsford Rotary Club, received its second international recognition over the past weekend.

During an annual Rotary district conference, held in Tulalip, Wash., the program was given the McLean Community Service Award, recognizing it as the most outstanding community service project in the Rotary 5050 District, which covers clubs in B.C. and Washington.

Starfish Packs provides weekly backpacks containing six meals each weekend to over 260 elementary school students in 22 Abbotsford schools. The program also recently launched its first Starfish Depot, which will provide food and other resources to school children and their families year-round.

Although the program was created locally, it has attracted significant attention and interest from outside the community as well.

Last month, the Aldergrove Rotary club launched its own Starfish Pack program to serve students in that community.

Other communities are in discussion with the club, asking for help in bringing the program to their communities.

Abbotsford Rotary president Hugh Ellis wants to ensure Abbotsford doesn’t lose sight of the need.

“We’re feeding over 260 kids every weekend, which is amazing. But there are still 150 additional kids going hungry every single weekend because we don’t have the dollars or volunteers to include them in the program yet. Being recognized with this recent award can’t cause us to stop and celebrate, we need to use it as motivation to move forward until every child in Abbotsford who needs this program can get it.”