Parksville AM bottle drives have resumed, with all Covid protocols in place.  With the renovations to the “WOW” Bus complete, Rotarians have selected the School District 69 Backpack Program as their next fundraising target.

The Club’s first bottle drive since the hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions proved to be a lively affair.  People had been saving their holiday supply and gladly donated them for a good cause. 

Parksville Bottle Depot owner, Louise Tyler, stopped by to ensure we had all the necessary supplies, and we even had a Port Alberni Rotarian drop in to help, exemplifying the slogan “Rotarians are People of Action”.

 
It was a successful day and a recognition of a sobering reality.
 
The truth is that hunger is hurting our community.  Childhood food insecurity is a local problem.  It occurs when children receive insufficient food on a regular basis; in many cases missing meals entirely.

An initiative of Qualicum Beach Rotarian, Virginia Worcester, the District 69 Backpack Program aims to create weekends that are worry-free for the children of our community, providing easy-to-prepare food at times when other resources are not available.

 
The concept is simple: children at risk of weekend hunger receive a bag of food that is child-friendly, nutritious, non-perishable and easy to eat.  In many cases, recipients of backpacks are the working poor, and the program serves families from Bowser to Nanoose.
 
Backpacks are distributed every Thursday so that children have food for the weekend.  Each backpack provides enough food that the children and family can easily assemble into six healthy meals. This helps ensure that children will have food over the weekend and return to school on Monday ready to learn.

The role of the School District is to identify families in need and liaise with Virginia in delivery of the program. This is done discreetly, ensuring privacy and maintaining dignity.  Other organizations and individuals in the community have also generously participated in the fundraising efforts which allow backpacks to be distributed weekly.
 
Through its weekly bottle drives, the Rotary Club of Parksville AM has committed to funding one backpack per week, each providing weekend meals to a family for a full year.
 
To learn more about the District 69 Backpack Program and how you can help, check out their website at www.district69backpackprogram.com
 
Every Saturday from 10 am until 2 pm, Rotarians will be in the Speedy Glass parking lot, happily accepting all refundable cans and bottles ... because hunger doesn’t take the weekend off.