Support for School District 43 Families
There are a number of families in our SD43 community that rely on school-based support for meals and food security. SD43 remains committed to assisting these families in this time of crisis and is proud to be partnered with the local SHARE Society in providing for families that may be in need.
SD43 is partnering with SHARE to augment food security service to the Tri-Cities community, and in particular support our families, during these difficult times. SHARE is a mainstay in this community, and the lead community agency in the Tri-Cities in supporting children, families and individuals in many ways. For more information please visit https://sharesociety.ca/
The culinary programs at Centennial, Riverside, and Gleneagle will assemble 360 grocery bags filled primarily with fresh produce, to help ensure food security in our community. The SHARE Society's distribution sites on Wednesday April 8th are as follows:
- Port Moody: SHARE Family and Community Services Society - 2615 Clarke St, Port Moody
- Coquitlam: Hillside Community Church - 1393 Austin Ave, Coquitlam
- Port Coquitlam: Trinity United Church - 2211 Prairie Ave, Port Coquitlam
For organizational purposes and to ensure physical distancing protocols are in place:
- Clients whose last names start with a letter between “A" to “M" are asked to attend the distribution site between 10am-11:30am
- Clients whose last names start with a letter between “N" to “Z" are asked to attend the distribution between site 11:30am-1:30pm Wednesday
Everyone who needs help will be served. There is no advantage in attending early or “lining up". SHARE is trying to limit the number of people on site at any given time to ensure physical distancing protocols, and to make the process as fast and efficient as possible.
Our support of our families is multi-tiered. As you are likely aware, there are pockets of need at each school, and while the need is greater in some locations than others, we thought it was important to ensure that wide-scale access to food support for any family in the Tri-Cities, especially during this unpredictable time, was warranted. In conversation with Claire Maclean the CEO of SHARE, she indicated that they had seen an immediate uptick in people accessing their service. SHARE has three distribution centers, in the three municipalities, so almost the entire Distinct is covered. In our conversation, she indicated that their capacity to deliver fresh food, especially fresh produce, was extremely limited. As such, I volunteered to use the funds that we typically use to fuel the school meals program, and our access to the supply chain, to see if we could help.
The culinary team at Centennial has taken the lead, working with GFS and some other suppliers. GFS has been extremely responsive and helpful. The plan is to have 360 paper grocery bags, filled with produce and a few canned items, made weekly to support SHARE. Each of the three culinary schools (Cent, Gleneagle and Riverside) will produce 120 nearly identical bags to be picked up by SHARE every Tuesday, for their distribution on Wednesday.
Many schools already support some of their families using existing community programs, and this will continue. The local Rotaries sponsor a program called the Starfish backpack program, and there is another program called BackPack Buddies. Together they service about 100 families, over 12 schools. Food is donated by the big stores, and the programs fill backpacks of food to sustain a family over the weekend. We had to make a few adjustments in delivery and access, but essentially, the backpacks will continue to be delivered to schools on Thursdays, and the school staff will deliver the backpacks to homes (drop and go) before the weekend.
Finally, many schools receive community donations, and will continue to support their populations with direct service. Some families are limited due to disability or transportation and may not be able to access SHARE sites, or may not have been identified through the school meals program. Schools will provide gift cards, vouchers or direct order and delivery, to these families. They use donated funds, or funds from Breakfast Clubs of Canada, or they leverage community partnerships (like COBS) to continue this service.
Our current global and local crisis may be creating or exacerbating some challenges with individual and community well-being. As such, we have put together a set of local and more global resources, and links to direct intervention, to help members in our community access support. https://www.sd43.bc.ca/Pages/mentalhealth.aspx#/=
In an operational sense, the District is instituting protocols and mechanisms to identify students who may be in need of extra support, and then will find means to care for them more intensely. Each school will have a specialized team dedicated to this work, and it will be augmented by a District team.