Vanderhoof schools partnered up to provide food to vulnerable families during pandemic

Local businesses and community members supported the program as well.

Food hampers were delivered to vulnerable members of the community. (Submitted photo)

W.L. McLeod Elementary school’s backpack program has been running for four years, and through the pandemic, the school collaborated with local community partners to ensure that vulnerable families in the district were getting weekly food hampers.

“It became apparent very quickly that COVID-19 was affecting many families throughout Vanderhoof. It was about families that had lost jobs but it was also because so many kids who would usually have breakfast, snack, and lunch at school were no longer in school,” Libby Hart, principal of W.L. McLeod Elementary told The Express.

As a result, Vanderhoof Food Programs Committee was formed. This committee comprises of “passionate staff” from McLeod, Evelyn Dickson Elementary School and Nechako Valley Secondary School who got together to find a solution.

Soon they were providing weekly food hampers to over forty-five families from all elementary schools across Vanderhoof. Simultaneously, Nechako Valley Secondary School was providing hampers on alternate weeks to twenty families, Hart said.

In terms of the contents of the hampers, Hart said they are different each week but usually contain milk, bread and eggs. The hamper contains breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack foods and there are always a few staples and condiments, she said.

Additionally, there is meat, frozen foods, produce, canned foods, “and we have been lucky to have freshly prepared foods from our kitchen like chili and Shepard’s Pie and freshly baked muffins and bread,” Hart added.

Through this time, the schools “formed and enhanced” their relationship with NeighbourLink, Carrier Sekani Family Services and Saik’uz First Nation as they worked towards a common goal, she said.

Aside from costs covered by the schools, local businesses and organizations donated close to $40,000 for the backpack program, Hart said. These businesses include – Rio Tinto Alcan, Integris Credit Union, Centerra Gold, New Gold, Streamline Signs, Four Rivers Co-Op, Talwar’s Hygiene First Cleaning, Vanderhoof Community Foundation donated to the backpack program.

Meanwhile, community members donated over $6,500 for the program as well.

“The outpouring of support was overwhelming and so very appreciated. There are no words to express how much it has meant to many,” Hart said.

The school has continued to provide hampers each week throughout April, May and June. The goal is to provide a large hamper at the end of June and then again at the end of August.

“We are now aware that the need in our community reaches far beyond even what we were providing through our Backpack program,” Hart said adding that their hope is to keep the Vanderhoof Food Programs Committee active in the Fall to respond to needs in the district.

“We will respond to what COVID brings but, at the very least, return to our weekend Backpack program,” she said.

READ MORE: McLeod students visit community businesses on Pink Shirt Day

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: Northern Health assuring public it has declared no public exposure events or outbreaks

As of Sept. 17, there are 241 cases in the Northern Health Authority region

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Anne Marie Sam seeks NDP nomination for Nechako Lakes riding

She also ran in 2017 but was defeated by BC Liberal John Rustad

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read