In October 2014 the Salmon Arm Rotary Club, in partnership with Askew’s Foods, launched a school lunch program for children in need of daily lunch assistance at elementary schools. The program provided assistance to children from Falkland, Enderby, Salmon Arm, Silver Creek, Sorrento and Sicamous.
The idea grew from a club member’s request for $250 to support a PAC Hot Lunch program after noticing the number of children who could not afford to participate in the program.
The lunch program assists approximately 400 children on a daily basis from October thru June. Kids are provided healthy foods including cheese, fruit, vegetables, granola bars, sandwiches, juice, and milk. Each school is responsible for shopping for its own lunch ingredients and distribution within the school.
The positive outcomes from this program include improved attendance, and students more focused and ready to learn as a result of not being hungry. Anxiety levels decrease around food security, and a positive change in behaviour has been noted in vulnerable students.
There is also no stress or stigma for students to get the lunch support needed as items are made available to all children in need, including those who might just have left their lunch at home.
The Rotary Lunch Program be continuing, and funds have been secured to include high schools in Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Enderby for the coming year.