Why Do Starfish Packs Exist?

The Starfish Pack Backpack Program was created in response to teachers hearing the cry of their students. Teachers were heartbroken to hear their students were coming to class Monday morning hungry, reporting that they had not eaten over the weekend.

The Starfish Pack Program was started in Abbotsford in 2013, because sadly, 400 elementary school children had been identified by the Abbotsford School District as being in need of food over the weekend. Now over 263 backpacks are packed with food are going home with the students over the weekend from 22 different schools.

At the outset of the 2013-2014 school year, the Abbotsford Rotary Club met with the Abbotsford School District to determine the scope of need and the priority order of schools. It was determined that nearly 400 elementary school children throughout Abbotsford’s public schools depends on either an in-school breakfast and/or lunch program as their sole source of nutrition during a normal school day. A conservative estimate indicated that over 300 of those students were also going completely without nutritional meals of any kind over a normal two day weekend.

The Rotary Club of Meadow Ridge started this program for the school year 2016/17. Our Club is the “glue” to put it all together; connecting stakeholders, making sure we have community partners that take care of ordering the food, packing the backpacks, picking them up and dropping them off at the schools, providing tax receipts, and bringing the issue of hungry kids in our own backyard to the forefront of the local community.

We are proud to cover any expenses not related to the direct cost of the food, including the actual backpacks ($35 each), website, donor recognition and any other related costs. The result is that 100% of donated money goes entirely towards food for the kids!

Our first school: Golden Ears Elementary, required 10 backpacks weekly at that time.
Our club committed to provide a minimum of 20 backpacks per week for the first year; maybe more depending on community donations.

This new program could not be possible without the generosity of some key players, including the Rotary Clubs and many other volunteer partners, including local businesses, faith groups and individuals.



How it Works


The Starfish Pack Program would not be possible without the helping hands of our community! Each Thursday volunteers pack two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and healthy snacks into each backpack with food for the weekend. The backpacks full of food are delivered every Friday to each participating school for the remainder of the school year.

100% of the donations raised goes toward purchasing the food for the backpacks. Teachers have reported improvements in children’s reading skills, math skills, ability to focus and to do partner work. This new program could not be possible without the generosity of some key players! Check out the partners page to see how.