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Sisters tackle youth hunger by organizing summer food bags

Published on

Jake Romphf

Three sisters from St. Patrick’s high school want to ensure local youth don’t go hungry this summer when school nutrition programs shut down.

The Vrolyk girls, Paige, 17, Abby, 15, and Sydney, 18 have been raising money and gathering food for Snacks for Summer, a program they launched to provide food bags to students in need.

“Hunger doesn’t take a vacation, and we still need to feed these kids,” said Paige, who noted 254 children age 16 and under used the St. Vincent de Paul food bank in April.

“That’s a pretty big number, and that’s pretty overwhelming.”

They’ve set a fundraising goal of $5,000, and by last week had raised half that through Toonie drives, bake sales and individual and corporate donations.

After learning that snacks are often in short supply, the sisters decided to provide food bags that could be picked up once a week, filled with 14 items including granola bars, crackers, apple sauce, pudding cups, cheese spread and fruit snacks.

Food the girls have already purchased fills part of a room at Redeemer Christian Reformed Church.

Their goal is to provide weekly snack bags to 30 children. St. Vincent de Paul was chosen as the distribution point because students can obtain the bags there fairly and anonymously, the girls said.

Public support has been strong. One man emptied the change from his pockets at the grocery store after hearing from the girls about the cause.

Paige Vrolyk said she was called to the office at St. Pat’s to find someone had anonymously donated a stack of granola bars.

“Hunger isn’t a new issue, but people keep going back to it because it’s so prevalent,” she said.

Chief Norm Hansen has donated $500 on behalf of Sarnia Police, and will be present on June 25 for an event at the St. Vincent de Paul to help get the word out.

Anyone wishing to help can make out a cheque to Reformed Christian Redeemer Church, with ‘Snacks for Summer’ in the memo line. Cheques can be dropped off at the church, 5834 Blackwell Side Road, Sarnia Police station, or Harbour Bay Clothing, 214 Front St. N.

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