Man stands on the back of a loading truck in front of an elementary school

An increased need for Starfish Packs for students in Abbotsford schools means that the Archway Community Services program can no longer meet the demand in its existing space. 

Currently 730 students in 41 elementary, middle, and high schools receive a weekly pack full of food to eat over the weekend when they don’t have access to school meals. Now halfway through the school year 12,494 packs have already been delivered and the Starfish Pack Program expects to distribute more than 25,700 packs by the end of the school year.  

“We now help double the number of students than we did in 2020 and capacity issues mean we have a waitlist for the first time,” said Rebecca Thuro, the Programs Supervisor at the Archway Food Bank.  

Up until now, food has been stored at the Food Bank and in its truck before being distributed to 14 volunteer groups in a donated area at Central Heights Church.  

The program has already made space saving changes that allowed them to help an additional 70 students but cannot fit any more food to help the 20 students currently on the waitlist.  

“We have the volunteers and some financial support to accommodate more students but simply don’t have the space,” said Thuro. “We are so grateful for Central Heights Church and their immense generosity in allowing us to use their facilities for the past couple years, but we have physically outgrown the available space.”

Group of volunteers in a room with food and boxes smiling at the camera wearing dark blue shirts

Starfish Pack volunteers from Longboard Products

“We now help double the number of students than we did in 2020 and capacity issues mean we have a waitlist for the first time.”

Rebecca Thuro

Programs Supervisor at the Archway Food Bank

To continue helping all students who apply, the Starfish Pack program is urgently looking for a new space to sort food each week.

The main requirements for the space are double doors, room to hold 12+ pallets and available to use from Tuesday afternoon to Thursday mornings.

The program can pay a modest amount of rent and is working with realtors to find a suitable space but wanted to put the request out to the community as well.

“It’s an unusual request but our community has always come through in the past through COVID, the floods and more,” said Thuro.

If you know of a space that could potentially host the program, please reach out to the Archway Starfish team at Starfish@archway.ca or 604-859-5749 Ext 28.

Those who wish to help support food for students in Abbotsford or to help with rent costs can make a donation at the Abbotsford Food Bank Starfish Pack webpage.

Group of fresh vegetables and packaged foods on a table

Example foods that would typically be in a Starfish pack.

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