The Rotary Club of Port Coquitlam Centennial has found success in attracting COVID-19 relief funding for its Starfish Pack Program that provides packets of food each week to vulnerable children.
Rotary District 5050has provided a grant for the food program for $1,250, which was matched by What’s On Port Coquitlam.
The Port Coquitlam Community Foundationhas provided a grant of $8,100, and Walmart has also provided a grant of $1,000. Certain funds received from BC Gaming have also been authorized to be directed to Starfish as well. All funds are used to cover the food costs.
These funds are being used to increase the support from 40 children to 65 children immediately and possibly up to 80 children over the coming months. These funds will support the increase in children from June 1 to Dec. 31.
The program normally only runs during the school year. This relief fund will see the program run through the summer as well for all the children receiving the weekly packets.
Here’s how it works.
Every Monday, a food order is placed with the program supplier, Walmart, and is picked up on Thursday mornings by Rotary volunteers and delivered directly to the schools for distribution to the families.
Arrangements are being made with the United Way’s Hi Neighbour Program to deliver the food packets directly to each home during the summer months.
Prior to the current pandemic, the food orders were packed by community volunteers including staff of Vancity, Westminster Savings, West World Paper, BDC, and others from time to time. Currently, to reduce the number of touches, the food order is being packed entirely by Walmart.
In order to sustain the level of service into 2021, fundraising efforts continue. The program has been operating by the Rotary Club in Poco since January 2017. To donate, contact program coordinator Ron Goyette at 604-512-4398 firstname.lastname@example.org or the club president, Gaye Simms, at 604-218-7750 email@example.com.