Lunch program fuels kids at summer camp

Feeding Our Future will put together thousands of meals in Saanich for underprivileged kids at summer camp

Camptastic co-ordinator Nathan Purcell strikes a pose with (from left) Madeleine

Camptastic co-ordinator Nathan Purcell strikes a pose with (from left) Madeleine

School’s out for summer, and that means no school lunches for three months, but one food service company is providing free lunches for underprivileged kids who would otherwise go without.

Sodexo Canada has brought back its Feeding Our Future initiative, which serves 135,000 lunches to at-risk children in nine cities across the country at summer camps. The initiative is from Sodexo’s Stop Hunger Foundation, which has donated more than a million meals since it was founded in 2001.

For its third year, Sodexo has brought its summer lunch program to camps in Victoria, where volunteers based out of St. Michael’s University School are preparing sandwiches for kids at different camps.

“We do roughly about 6,000 meals in the summer,” said Paula Henchion, Sodexo general manager in Victoria.

“We’re a little bit different to the other eight cities. Places like Vancouver, Calgary, these bigger cities have lots of other Sodexo units to get employees and managers to volunteer their time to make the lunches. Here in Victoria, we are the only Sodexo unit, so we connected with the St. Michaels University School and they, together with us, get all the manpower for all the 30 days that we do production.”

The lunches go to camps at such organizations as the Boys & Girls Club, the Quadra Village Community Centre, the Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Burnside Gorge.

Last year, the SMUS location logged 432 volunteer hours over the six-week program. But it’s not just providing food that Sodexo strives for, says Henchion – it’s providing good food.

“We try to make sure that everything that we give them is on the healthier side – whole wheat bread, juice, yogurt and then they get a treat like a cookie or a granola bar,” she said, adding that the volunteers take into consideration different allergies that kids may have in the preparation of meals.

“We reach out to each centre to see what works and what didn’t work. Otherwise, there’s no point in putting the effort into it if it’s not something the children are going to eat.”

Nathan Purcell, camp co-ordinator for Camptastic based out of the Quadra Village Community Centre, said the program really falls in line with their camp’s goal of providing positive experiences to the kids, many of whom come from lower-income neighbourhoods.

“We’re super thankful to have all the bag lunches donated,” said Purcell. “They’re easy to bring along – we don’t have to lug around stuff and make something. It’s just a bag lunch and they get to try something new.”

Purcell said the kids have responded well to the program, especially since the volunteers make an effort to prepare a variety of different foods rather than the same sandwich every day.

“There’s something in there for all of them,” he said. “It’s just awesome that we have this ability, that people don’t have to worry. They send their kid to camp and they know we have food there.”



Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Most Read