June 15, 2024

Remoted Crawford Bay faculty faces challenges with resiliency.

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CRAWFORD BAY — It’s unlikely that almost all British Columbians may level a finger at this tiny village of 350 residents on a map.

It sits in lovely isolation among the many Purcell mountains on Freeway 3A. An hour’s drive south is Creston and the Idaho border, and an hour’s drive east is Nelson — after a 35-minute ferry journey throughout Kootenay Lake.

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A quiet, rural neighborhood used to taking good care of itself. And by and enormous it nonetheless does.

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However the social and financial pressures wrought by the pandemic and the aftermath that introduced hovering meals costs and sky-high rents is now affecting this village’s skill to supply ample meals for youngsters coming to high school hungry.

“We’ve one of the vital lovely colleges within the district. We’ve an enormous playground and a forest for our children to play in and now we have plenty of issues going for us,” stated Victoria McAllister, the brand new principal of Crawford Bay faculty, a composite kindergarten-to-Grade 12 faculty with 70 college students.

“We’ve some actual strengths, however our working finances for meals is de facto low. COVID has had some outsized impacts on this space and (lack of) meals is a large one.”

The college is making an attempt to feed hungry college students, however is discovering it tough.

“Our (mother and father advisory council) runs an unbelievable sizzling lunch program with a full salad bar with 15 totally different veggies and proteins plus a sizzling entrée,” McAllister defined.

Households who can afford it pay for lunch. For many who can’t, the college will “quietly pay that charge,” she stated.

Till this yr, the college was in a position to present a breakfast for youngsters coming to high school hungry.

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However then the variety of households needing assist with lunch elevated whereas funding sources fell. To proceed serving lunch to everybody, the breakfast program was cancelled.

“We offered a wholesome breakfast as a result of now we have some households with complicated wants the place children had been arriving right here with out breakfast. However we haven’t been in a position to get that going this yr as a result of now we have so many households asking for assist to cowl lunch,” she stated.

The college’s meals coordinator, Alana Strom, stated households believing “it might be cheaper” have moved into the realm for the reason that pandemic.

However some are discovering it tough to get work in a area the place many roles are seasonal or pay minimal wage, Strom defined.

McAllister has been a principal in different rural colleges, however was stunned on the stage of want in Crawford Bay, which solely has one small grocery retailer.

“There have been some industries which have left the realm. With housing costs, fairly a number of households reside in trailers or transient housing,” she stated.

“The closest full grocery retailer is an hour’s drive away and households are usually not in a position to entry wholesome meals except they’ve obtained transportation and might afford a two-hour drive.

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“I’ve by no means labored in a faculty the place households confirmed a lot resilience as households do right here, or creativity dwelling inside restricted means. However I’ve by no means seen fairly this stage of want.

“I used to be a principal in Kaslo, which is simply an hour away, however there’s a full grocery retailer there, counselling companies, a hospital, the RCMP, and all types of emergency companies that simply don’t exist right here,” she stated.

The college wants $10,000 from The Vancouver Solar Kids’s Fund Undertake-A-College marketing campaign so it will possibly reinstate breakfast, maintain its lunch program going, and supply an emergency fund for households in want.

Having the college present breakfast and lunch for youngsters whose mother and father are fighting the excessive value of meals is essential, she stated.

“Getting meals in school means households can save for dinners. Our children are fairly wholesome, however households are leaning on us for ways in which assist them with dinners and (meals) on the weekend.”

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2. PHONE: Name 604-813-8673 to donate by bank card.

3. MAIL: Full the donation type right here and mail it with cost to: Vancouver Solar Kids’s Fund, Suite 1100-1200 West 73rd Ave., Vancouver, B.C., V6P 6G5. (Please make your cheque / cash order payable to Vancouver Solar Kids’s Fund Society.)

Contact: Michelle Roebuck, Fund Administrator at [email protected] or name 604-813-8673

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