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Abbotsford Starfish Backpack Program
All the backpacks of the Starfish Backpack Program comes from Unitex Sales
The Parable of the Starfish
On the morning after a violent storm, the residents of a seaside village awoke to find their beach covered with hundreds of dying starfish which had washed ashore.
As the community gathered at the end of the beach, they spoke in hushed tones about the great sadness of the disaster. Suddenly, a young girl ran towards the beach and began to pick the starfish one at a time, then throwing them back into the water.
A village elder walked towards the young girl and kindly said, "Child, there are hundreds of starfish on this beach and this must be happening on other beaches up and down the coast. You must understand that you alone can't possibly make a difference."
The little girl looked up at the old man, smiled and bent down to pick another starfish. As she threw it back into the sea, she replied, "I made a huge difference to that one!" - Author Unknown
The Starfish Pack Story
Early in 2013, the Abbotsford Food Bank requested that the Abbotsford Rotary Club fund a pilot project designed to bridge existing in-school breakfast and lunch programs with the absence of any food over weekends for elementary students at risk. Our club funded the purchase of ten backpacks. Each week volunteers packed two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and healthy snacks into each backpack with food for the weekend and delivered the backpacks to an elementary school for the remainder of the school year. The pilot project resulted in a number of schools urgently requesting to be included in the program.
At the outset of the 2013-2014 school year, the Abbotsford Rotary Club met with the Abbotsford School District to determine the scope of need and the priority order of schools. It was determined that nearly 400 school children throughout Abbotsford's public schools depends on either an in-school breakfast and/or lunch program as their sole source of nutrition during a normal school day. A conservative estimate indicated that over 300 of those students were also going completely without nutritional meals of any kind over a normal two day weekend.
Working with the Abbotsford Food Bank, corporate partners, non-profit groups, faith groups and individuals, the program called "Abbotsford Rotary Starfish Pack Program" expanded from the original single school pilot project of ten backpacks to the current level of 22 schools serving 263 students and their families.
At the outset of the 2014-2015 school year, we have renamed our program the "Starfish Pack", with hopes to exceed the previous number of weekly backpacks. Additional corporate and personal sponsorships are necessary to allow our community partners and volunteers to continue to make a real difference each week in the lives of local school children and their families.
Making a Difference
The issues contributing to hungry children are complex and difficult to address. They are not restricted to 'poor' communities. There will always be more need than there are resources available. A community can easily become overwhelmed trying to find solutions.
However, sometimes the smallest effort can have a ripple effect across an entire community and beyond. To that end, the Abbotsford Rotary Club has partnered with the Abbotsford Food Bank to create the Starfish Pack Program. A program dedicated to making a difference in Abbotsford, one child at a time.
The cost of providing the weekend meals to one child for a school year is $525. Businesses, groups or individuals wanting to contribute to the program can do so by calling the Abbotsford Food Bank at 604-859-5749, visiting the site at 33914 Essendene Ave or visit www.starfishpack.com. Cheques can be made out to the Abbotsford Food Bank with “Starfish Pack Program” on the notation line.
In the News
Prospera Credit Union Gives $10,500 to Starfish Pack Program. View the article at Prospera Gives $10,500 to Starfish Pack Program
Unitex Donates to Starfish Program. View the news article in the Abbotsford News Unitex Donates to Starfish Program
The Starfish Pack program is making headlines. View the news article in the Abbotsford News Blessings in a Backpack: Hunger doesn't take weekends off
The Starfish Pack Program is in the News again! Community contributions will help feed more children in Abbotsford. Click to view the Abbotsford News article click HERE.
To view the Starfish Pack Program video click HERE
To read the Abbotsford School District Superintendent’s Update for March 2014, please check out page two and click HERE
Unitex Sales staff has attended the Agfair in Langley just 5 minutes away from our showroom for the past 5 years. This year is no exception, as we saw many familiar faces and met some new friends. Kevin Friesen, our President is talking to a potential client here in the picture. We really had to work hard to keep an eye out for our farm animal squeeze toys samples, as the kids really love them and try to take them home to complete their collection.