The Salvation Army Pantry34 Program
School days, school days, dear old Golden Rule days! For me that song brings back memories of sleeping-in far too late, jumping into my clothes, scarfing down a piece of fruit, grabbing my brown bag lunch, and chasing down the school bus in an effort to get to school on time.
For many kids however, the fruit and the lunch bag are just not on the counter and the fridge is empty. The sad reality is that countless kid’s right here in our own community go without nutritious food or regular meals.
The goal of The Salvation Army’s Pantry34 program is ensuring that all youth in Abbotsford have access to healthy, nutritious snacks and beverages at any time of the school day, distributed at the teacher’s discretion, as part of their normal school routine.
Extinguishing hunger is of the utmost importance to ensure our youth are thriving and well. Access to proper, nutritious food can mean the difference between poor grades and good grades, ineffective learning and effective learning, poor health and good health, low wages and high wages, and a short life expectancy versus a long life expectancy.
“When a child does not regularly receive proper nutrition, there are very real negative effects, many of which they’ll carry into adulthood. By providing the basic essentials of living for these families, we are not only providing nutrition but in many cases we are relieving families of the stress and guilt of not being able to provide for their kids. Ultimately, we believe we are equipping children with a better diet which potentially leads to better health, better state of mind, better education, and a greater capacity to earn a living above the poverty line,” says Deborah Lowell, Public Relations Director at The Salvation Army.
The program runs from September-June each year and currently serves 19 schools in Abbotsford’s School District 34. Food and beverage items are assembled into large re-useable bins in the Meal Centre, and a driver delivers the bins to each school as needed. Each school has an average of 10-25 kids who regularly use the program.
If you have interest in this program or would like more information, please call The Salvation Army Centre of Hope at 604-852-9305.