Posted by Colin Heggie on Oct 15, 2019
Charlene Silvester hosted WL Seaton French Immersion teacher Stephanie Hewson, who spoke about her Okanagan Learning Foundation.  Seaton’s “feeder” elementary schools have “Starfish” programs, providing food to needy students each Friday, to supplement their weekend diets.  It occurred to Stephanie that these students’ needs don’t disappear when they move to secondary school, so in 2017 she began offering Friday food supplements to selected Seaton students.  At present, the Okanagan Learning Foundation serves 25 Seaton students, plus 10 at Fulton Secondary.  Plans are afoot to serve VSS, & in the future, more schools.  Proteins, carbs, fresh fruit, vegetables, some snacks, hygiene products, & clothes are offered on Fridays to one student at a time, to maintain privacy.  Students are involved in purchasing the food, & receive hints on meal preparation.  Teachers, counsellors & administrators make referrals to the program, then parents are contacted to complete annual applications.  OKLF also provides scholarships to students, & professional education grants to teachers.  About $35,000 has been spent since 2017.  Funding comes from private & corporate donations.