Many of the students who’ve benefited from the hot lunch program at Chatelech Secondary School this school year have Kundalata James to thank.
And on May 9, thanked she was. At the Parent Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting, James received the Bev Hosker Motivational Award.
Hosker was a director of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) known for her tireless advocacy for public school students and their parents, especially around safe schools and math. The award began in her name in 2003.
James joined the Chatelech PAC less than a year ago, and became the hot lunch program coordinator during the fall 2021 elections. The program was shut down when COVID-19 prevented the parent volunteers from entering the school, and other programs stepped up to help fill the need. When James discovered the hot lunch program would need to be rebuilt, she volunteered to take it on, according to her nomination package for the award.
At a low cost to students, the program now offers a featured entree from local vendors and baked goods from the Elphinstone culinary arts program on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Any profit then goes back into supporting the school as one of the PAC’s two funding sources — funding was most recently approved for two new pottery wheels.
Usually the program coordinator is mentored for a year, but James “jumped right in with a wonderful, positive attitude.” The hot lunches were back shortly after the school year began, and James navigated how to run the program through the complications COVID-19 presented.
“She takes her role to heart and has long-term commitment to both the Hot Lunch Program and the PAC board, is prompt in her responses and has a can-do attitude. I could not have asked for a more wonderful person to fill the role,” Shannon Geue, the Chatelech PAC chair, wrote in the nomination package.
After the awards presentation, Geue told Coast Reporter James was "really delighted to be recognized that way" after stepping into the large role.
The PAC Hot Lunch program is currently offered three days a week and still looking for volunteers. Those interested can contact James at firstname.lastname@example.org or Geue at email@example.com.