Aldergrove Community Secondary’s hairdressing student volunteers with the Starfish backpacks program. (Special to Aldergrove Star)

Aldergrove Community Secondary’s hairdressing student volunteers with the Starfish backpacks program. (Special to Aldergrove Star)

Starfish program packing backpacks for Aldergrove families in need

71 backpacks to be filled with nutritious food every week

A backpack filled to the brim with healthy foods – that is how two local charities will help put food on the table for families in need this summer.

Aldergrove Rotary Club’s Starfish coordinator Charlie Fox said he is “delighted” to announce his group’s new partnership with Langley Meals on Wheels.

“For the past six and a half years, since the Aldergrove Rotary Starfish Program started, our summer initiative has been to provide families with grocery gift cards,” Fox said.

But the ability to offer the kids and their families a backpacks full of food is “much better,” said the retired school principal.

And, Meals on Wheels will be assisting with the packing of those backpacks during the upcoming summer months – picking up on the duties performed by student volunteers during the school year.

The local Starfish program has distributed 13,000 backpacks since its inception, making a “huge” difference in these students’ lives, Fox continued.

“These backpacks are always well-received by families who are struggling to make ends meet.”

And for the first time, Aldergrove’s Starfish program will be expanded throughout the summer months.

Beginning June 30 and carrying on through Sept. 2, families participating in the Rotary Starfish program will be eligible to pick up a weekly backpack every Friday afternoon.

The whole idea is for underprivileged kids to have “weekend food” year round, said Aldergrove Rotary’s public relations coordinator Pauline Buck.

“Some of these kids don’t have any options for food on the weekends,” she added. “It’s a struggle for some families.”

Both Fox and Buck emphasized that the need for the Starfish program just keeps expanding everywhere, including in communities such as Aldergrove.

“As our community recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to grow, the need [here] will continue to increase,” Fox said.

READ MORE: Aldergrove Rotary Club’s Starfish backpacks sent home with toques and scarves

Rotary and Meals on Wheels are ramping up for their new summer initiative, but more help is always welcome and appreciated, he noted.

“We are always looking for more people to volunteer their time.”

To volunteer, people can go online to: or call Fox at 604-340-9421‬.

The program is solely funded by local groups and individuals in the Aldergrove community.

Donations towards the program can be made

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