Parents, children and various city officials turned out for the 20th annual Pancake Breakfast hosted by the KidSafe Project Society on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at Florence Nightingale Elementary.
The Pancake Breakfast is an important event held every year over Spring Break for at-risk children ranging across six inner city elementary schools, including Queen Alexandra, Admiral Seymour, MacDonald, Grandview/¿uuqinak'uuh, Florence Nightingale and Mount Pleasant.
Gerhard Maynard, executive director of the KidSafe Project Society, said that school breaks are a particularly tough time for inner city youth.
"There has been a substantial increase in need for service in our community during the breaks over the last 5-10 years," said Maynard. "The latest trends indicate that child poverty continues to be a challenge in British Columbia and KidSafe recognizes that it has an important role to play in providing safe havens, caring adults, and nutrition for Vancouver's most vulnerable children and families."
For inner city youth, the school break can be a time of loneliness, boredom, hunger and neglect. The KidSafe program provides children with developmental and recreational activities, nutritious meals and a positive and safe environment during these breaks.
The breakfast is only one of the events that KidSafe plans in order to provide extra support for at-risk children.
"Roughly 70 kids were present for the Pancake Breakfast of over 300 participating in KidSafe this year," said Maynard.
British Columbia has the second highest child poverty rate in Canada, at 14.3 per cent, and of the 119,000 children living in poverty in the province, 80,000 reside in the Greater Vancouver area.
KidSafe helps mitigate the effects of child poverty by providing free programming and meals to over 400 vulnerable inner-city children over the 12 weeks of school holidays, and during after school hours as well.
Since its inception in 1993, KidSafe has provided over 1,072,500 nutritious meals, and over 2,502,500 hours of free programming for at risk-children.