A call to help feed hungry kids on the Coast has resulted in roughly $16,000 being raised for the Breakfast for Kids (BFK) program.
“I am just so grateful. It has been astonishing how strongly the community has responded,” said BFK program director Heather Gordon.
Coast Reporter first ran an article highlighting the need in early May, showing that it costs just $15 per child per year to nourish hungry kids at Coast schools through BFK.
The program ensures there is healthy food available for every elementary and some secondary school children who need it. Recent statistics show that about 554 local kids are coming to school hungry each day.
In the May 4 article, Gordon said funding sources were dwindling and local grocery stores were being stretched thin with multiple requests for assistance from different organizations.
She appealed to the community for their help to continue running the important program, and the Sunshine Coast response blew her away.
“I was worried the program wouldn’t make it, but we are good now well into next year,” she said. “It is so gratifying to see how deeply this community cares about their children.”
Individual donations came from 95 Coasters who gave from $10 to $1,000 with Gordon noting every dime was important.
“Clearly people with limited incomes reached deep to give,” she said. “Often I could tell by the handwriting on the cheque that it was a senior’s hand.”
Employee groups also stepped up to give with almost $3,000 coming in from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the Sunshine Coast Credit Union and Coast Reporter.
Businesses like Castle Rock Kennels answered the call, donating their proceeds from every Wednesday in May to the effort.
Service clubs like Rotary Club of the Sunshine Coast, Gibsons Legion, the Sechelt Lions Club and the Gibsons Seniors’ Society penned some cheques for BFK, and churches like St. Hilda’s and Gibsons United gave generously.
Gibsons United also decided to give $2,500 to an endowment fund set up through the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation to help fund the effort in the future.
“The idea of an endowment fund was just one line in a column written by [Coast Reporter associate publisher] Cathie Roy, but the idea caught on,” Gordon said, noting one woman from Halfmoon Bay started the endowment with her $500 gift.
Others also donated to the endowment fund, topping it up to $5,000.
The money was deposited before the end of June so the newly established Feeding Hungry Children fund was blessed with a 50 per cent match through the Barron Incentive Plan. That means $7,500 is now sitting in an endowment fund, and the annual earnings can be used by BFK.
“It’s not a lot right now, but it could grow and eventually we could run the entire program from [the earnings on] that fund,” Gordon said.
She is overwhelmed by the response from the community, saying that while the program is not set for life, it has received a much needed boost to continue into next year.
If you would like to donate to BFK, Gordon would welcome your support.
Call her at 604-885-2720, drop off a cheque at any Sunshine Coast Credit Union (account number 46546) or mail cheques of $20 or more needing tax receipts to School District No. 46 (with Breakfast for Kids in the memo line), Box 1545, Sechelt, B.C. V0N 3A0.