The Summit Youth Centre has been working hard to enhance food security for families, children, and youth across the Columbia Valley whenever they can, but in particular as a result of COVID-19. The Snack Box for Kids Program was launched last week by Kelsey Prichard, the Summit Youth Centre Director. The program expects to provide up to 200 children and youth with a weekly delivery containing 3 to 4 days worth of healthy snacks.
Many of the children and youth of our Valley benefit from nutritional support through their daycare or school. For many students, these snacks are an essential, irreplaceable food source and a valued part of their day. Much of the foods distributed are not provided through designated school food programs. Instead, they are distributed in a variety of ways by teachers and support workers who are aware of the need. This method ensures food accessibility in a safe, trusting environment which also provides nutritional and emotional security. The need for food to be supplied at schools, stems from students simply forgetting lunches to families who might be experiencing times of food insecurity. Due to school closures, these trusted food sources have disappeared for many of our Valley’s children and youth.
The Summit Youth Centre staff and volunteers will be preparing and delivering food boxes to children and youth, with assistance from community partners including Columbia Valley Food Bank, Columbia Valley Food and Farm, all schools and daycares in the Columbia Valley, the Shuswap Band, Akisqnuk First Nation, Columbia Valley Metis Chartered Community, and community members to ensure all children in need are receiving food.
These boxes will provide nutritional support for children who need them, but they are also a way of sharing kindness throughout our community. Each box will include healthy snacks and easily-prepared meal ingredients. This will be a short-term program lasting until schools and daycares are able to resume regular functioning, possibly until September 2020.
Food for the boxes has been gathered through many different sources, such as; snack drives, collecting donations of vegetables and fruits from parents and community members, receiving in-kind donations of food from the Food Bank, and fresh BC fruits and vegetables provided by the BC Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program. Additionally, foods will be purchased locally and through food service providers such as Sysco Foods and Gordon Food Service.
Funding for the Columbia Valley Snack Box for Kids Program has been provided by The Summit Youth Centre, School District #6, DTSS Chef Training, the Parent Advisory Councils of J.A Laird and David Thompson Secondary School and Kicking Horse Coffee. At the time of writing, the Summit Youth Centre was awaiting confirmation of funding from other sources.
The Columbia Valley Snack Box for Kids Program is being led by the Summit Youth Centre, with planning support from Columbia Valley Food and Farm, School District #6, the Columbia Valley Food Bank, Andrea Salzbrenner and Joanne Bragg.
If you would like more information about the Columbia Valley Snack Box for Kids Program, please contact Kelsey Prichard, Centre Director, Summit Youth Centre: 250-342-3033 or at firstname.lastname@example.org