FSJ Salvation Army joins After the Bell program

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Fort St. John Salvation Army is joining Food Bank Canada’s After the Bell program — a program that aims to feed children in need over the summer holidays.

The program provides nutritious, kid-friendly food packs to children experiencing food insecurity across the country.

Each pack includes shelf-stable items such as hummus, crackers, cereal, oatmeal, and sunflower seeds.

Melanie Mason with the FSJ Salvation Army says that the food packs will be going to children from low-income families participating in the Northern Environmental Action Team’s Wildlings camp and Wild Gymnasts camp.

“As a community, we’re all taking care of each other, making sure that everyone has equal opportunities to attend things like camp,” Mason said.

Susan McGarvey from NEAT says these food packs help the kids not only by feeding them but by demonstrating one of the main things the organization speaks about: food security.

“One of the things we talk about to the kids is the fact that in Canada, one in five kids goes hungry every single day. That’s one in five kids. It doesn’t include the adults or seniors,” McGarvey said.

She says one of the things the organization talks to kids about through their Food Secure Kids program is what kids who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs do when the school year is over.

“For Melanie and the Salvation Army to step up and kind of fill that gap kind of goes along with what our goal has been all along for Wildlings: 10 kids in the forest every single week that couldn’t otherwise afford it,” McGarvey said.

“We know those are the kids that need to be out there most, they’re also the kids that need access to that food the most.”

She adds that spaces are still available for kids interested in the Wildlings camp, including spaces sponsored by local businesses.

Those interested can contact McGarvey at 250-785-6328.

Food Banks Canada estimates that 33 per cent of those relying on food banks in Canada are children.

“This means that while most kids are overjoyed when the final bell of the school year rings, others begin to worry about how they will eat over the summer months since meal programs aren’t available,” the FSJ SA said on social media.

Last year, FBC provided 150,000 healthy food packs to food banks across Canada.

This year they aim to distribute 175,000 food packs to 190 communities across the country.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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