SD67’s food program continues to thrive thanks to support and generosity from the South Okanagan community. (Pixabay photo)

Generosity, support from South Okanagan community keeps school food program running

SD67’s food program continues to thrive thanks to donations, volunteering from community

School districts, like many businesses and organizations, have been forced to adapt amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In School District 67, students’ learning has switched to online, schools are closed to most, and most programs are on hold or being presented in different ways.

READ MORE: SD67 reflects on school year amid COVID-19, speaks to graduation of seniors

However some things, like the schools’ breakfast program, which provides a healthy breakfast to students who may come to school hungry, cannot function as it normally would, due to social distancing protocols.

Despite this, thanks to the generosity of the community, it remains active.

“I’ve been up to the board office twice this week … both times I’ve gone up there, somebody’s been at the door with a cheque for our food program,” said SD67 Chair James Palanio. “So that’s really great to see that the community’s stepping up and helping out as well.”

Individuals are handing in cheques specifically for the food program. Money from the school district that would normally go to the in-school breakfast program has been re-allocated to instead purchase food hampers, explained Palanio, adding that there’s an additional cost to running the program like this. Donations like these from the community, he said, have been instrumental.

“There’s additional costs to having to do it this way, so it’s nice to see that people are stepping up to help out,” he said.

The Penticton RCMP Detachment has also offered to help deliver food hampers to families who are not able to leave their homes.

Amid uncertain times, Palanio said it’s nice to hear about the good news.

“I know people are hearing about the negative stresses that we’re having to deal with, so it’s nice to see that the cream rises to the top, and good people jump in and help out,” Palanio said.

Since 2011 Meals On Wheels has been working with the Penticton School Board to provide nutritious breakfasts five days a week at three local elementary schools; Columbia, Queen’s Park and West Bench. The service is provided to ensure children do not go hungry.


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