The Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary has given $23,044 to support the Hunger Bites food program and purchase emergency supplies for Ladysmith Secondary School.
For the past six years, the school has run a breakfast program. That program offers students food like smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, toast, and bagels every morning. In 2019, LSS expanded the program to include sandwiches for lunch.
LSS does receive money from the school district for the program, but when the demand for food exceeded the budget for the program, LSS began looking for funding opportunities from the community.
Community groups like the Ladysmith Kinsmen, the Eagles, and the Rotary Club have donated money to keep the program going. Food suppliers like the Old Town Bakery, 49th Parallel Grocers, and Loaves and Fishes have provided LSS with food for the program as well.
Ladysmith Health Care Auxiliary treasurer Larry Shaw said the auxiliary wanted to make sure the Hunger Bites program had funding for the entire school year.
“Our main emphasis is on the health of the community, and this is an integral part of that,” Shaw said. “This is for the people of Ladysmith.”
As long as LSS makes their request for funding by or before Oct. 1 every year, the funding can continue indefinitely. Any excess funding that comes from the community will help expand the Hunger Bites program.
LSS principal Dave Travers said with the broad community support that Hunger Bites has received, the school doesn’t have to turn any students away. As for the students themselves, they make sure none of the food goes to waste.
“Very rarely do I find any of those sandwiches just sitting around. If kids are taking them, they’re eating them,” Traver said. “For young people to have that mindset of not being wasteful, I think that’s remarkable.”
$5,000 of the funding will go toward purchasing emergency supplies for LSS that can also be used for community members in the event of major emergencies like forest fires or earthquakes.
“I consider that money to be not only for the school, but it will protect the community,” Travers said.