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Tri-Cities community must come together to feed hungry kids

The Editor, Re. "1,000 school-age kids going hungry" (The Tri-City News, Sept. 6).

The Editor,

Re. "1,000 school-age kids going hungry" (The Tri-City News, Sept. 6).

Those of us who have had the chance to spend a lunch hour with an elementary school class, whether it was on a school field trip or just visiting our own child in class, can vouch for the fact that there are kids going hungry in School District 43.

On a field trip last year I witnessed two kids in that group that had nothing to eat come lunchtime. One child paced around the classmates mumbling about being hungry in hopes that someone would offer up an item from their lunch. The teacher had brought an extra item or two, knowing that there would be kids without food that day.

I have heard this story a number of times: teachers buying snacks with their own money to give to kids that they know regularly go hungry. This does not seem like a sustainable model for the future.

The old saying "It takes a village to raise a child" fits here. It is time that as a community we put our heads together to find a way to make sure the most vulnerable of our kids are getting at least one nutritious meal a day.

Doing it through the schools seems a logical choice. It is the place where we can connect with the most children aged five to 17 years. I know there are initiatives already underway at some schools - breakfast programs and subsidized lunches - yet perhaps it is time for the city, the province, the school district and the community stakeholders to work as a team to create a program that is inclusive and sustainable. One that allows all of our kids access to a nutritious meal at school without having to single out and publicly identify those kids who are the most in need.

Bonita Zarrillo, Coquitlam