Summer Starfish Recap 2023

This past year, thanks to the support of our generous community, and an incredible team of volunteers, the Archway Starfish Pack Program surpassed 10 years of operation in Abbotsford.


In the past decade, volunteers have packed and delivered over 70,000 packs to local students at their schools to take home over the weekend. These 70,000 packs don’t even include all the packs provided over the summer months while school is out.



This past summer was the 6th year of our annual Summer Starfish program! During the summer, families pick up bulked versions of Starfish Packs bi-weekly throughout July and August, to ensure students have access to nutritious food throughout summer break.


Students who receive the regular Starfish packs are invited to enroll online for the Summer Starfish and choose the closest pick-up location.


This past summer, we served over 350 students, along with their families. This is a 29% increase from the 272 students we served in 2022. We were so grateful to partner with Sevenoaks Church, LifeSpring Church, and the Abbotsford School District to offer a variety of times and pick-up options throughout Abbotsford.

Program Highlights

A highlight of the summer program was the ability to offer a greater variety of fresh items like eggs, milk, and increased amount of produce. During the school year, options are limited because the packs are stored at room temperature. Thankfully, with the existing cold storage resources of the Food Bank, families can access more fresh items in the summer.


An exciting change this summer was that for the first time, families were able to select the food items. During the school year and previous summers, the food would be pre-packed bags for the families.


This year, volunteers set up tables that offered different categories like “breakfast”, “protein”, “grains” and the families could choose the options that were best for their family. The number of items they could choose from each category was based on the number of school-aged children in their household.

We received very positive feedback about this addition with 94% of the families surveyed indicating that they preferred having the ability to choose their items over pre-packed bags.


Impact Stories

Volunteers from Vitalus Nutrition

At the end of the summer, families had the opportunity to share their feedback and help us improve the program for the future. Below are some real-life impacts that our generous community has made possible for the families we serve.


“With the rising cost of groceries, the starfish program has helped a lot with taking the pressure off. Not having to choose between paying bills and putting food on the table is something that the program has made possible for me.”




“Super easy to go through. Everyone is friendly and lovely. I never felt embarrassed. I felt empowered and cared for. Thank you!!!”


“Starfish has helped my family not just over the summer but also through the school year things have been very tight with money and being able to afford much these it’s been such a blessing.”


“During this tough time of being a single parent, and a lay-off from work, it was a sigh of relief to get food on table for my children. Thank you!”



Volunteers from Longboard Products

Meghan, Starfish Pack Coordinator


“Without the Summer Starfish Program, I don’t know how I would have managed to stretch our grocery budget. With the extra help this program provided I was able to still do summer activities with the children and hopefully provide them with positive core memories; without feeling any food anxiety.


They were always excited to see the groceries we got every pick-up. Every volunteer was kind, helpful, personable and it helped ease some of the shame and guilt I feel due to food insecurity.”

Thank you!

Though a lot has changed, one thing always remains the same; Making a difference in the lives of Abbotsford students, one child at a time.


Thank you to all the volunteers, organizations and donors who ensure that children in our community have access to food all year-round!