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YMCA Strong Kids Campaign Healthy Snack Program - girl eating apple at table in child care setting

The Need

The YMCA operates preschool and child care programs at 9 locations across Kelowna and West Kelowna and serves over 540 children a day. With one in four children relying on the Y’s financial assistance program to register in child care, their families also struggle to afford nutritious food or put regular meals on the table. Sadly, many kids in our programs come to us hungry.

Current statistics are astounding.

  • The 2017 BC Child Poverty Report Card cited that the Kelowna Central Metropolitan area had three census tracts with child poverty rates between 30% and 40% — West Kelowna had the highest.
  • 15 million children in Canada are living in homes that experience food insecurity.
  • Economic inequality in the Okanagan – the gap between the haves and the have-nots – continues to increase.
  • Living in poverty is linked to an increase in health-related issues in children, including poor nutrition, obesity, behavioural and emotional problems, and low academic achievement.
  • Both obesity and diabetes rates have increased every year in the Okanagan since 2013.

The YMCA’s Response

At the Y, children and individuals are able to find the resources and support they need during times of crises, illness or transition in order to build a healthier life for their children and themselves. We believe every child in our care should have access to healthy food and snacks in our programs, and the nourishment that helps them learn, grow and thrive.

Donors are making a difference by:

  • Providing over 100,000 healthy snacks—fresh fruits & vegetables and protein—each year!
  • Helping children start their morning the best way possible in our Before School Care program by ensuring those who are hungry are fed breakfast before starting their day.
  • Giving every child in our afterschool program a healthy snack. For many this may be their only nutritious meal of the day.


Thank you Tim Hortons!

Local Tim Hortons stores have been supporting the YMCA Healthy Snack Program through their Smile Cookie Campaign since 2013. This ensures each year hundreds of children participating in Y preschool or out of school care programs will receive a daily nutritious snack. 100% of the Smile Cookie donations go directly to the YMCA’s Healthy Snacks Program.

Travis’s Story

Travis, the store manager at the Tim Hortons Powick location, has personally experienced the supportive network of the YMCA. When his daughters were young, he found himself a single dad and struggling to afford the basics on just one income.

“I couldn’t even afford a jug of milk some days,” said a very humble Travis. “And I desperately needed child care in order to maintain work during this very challenging time. Not only did the YMCA provide excellent care of my girls, but they also gave them healthy meals and snacks, for which I am so grateful. Many Tim Hortons staff and customers have also been helped by the Y during their times of need. That’s why we are so passionate about the Smile Cookie Campaign and the charity it benefits.”