Starlight Shines Bright

ECF helps Starlight keep kids entertained and get them virtually out of the house

The Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada has been helping seriously and chronically ill children and their families for more than 30 years, and as of June 11, 2020,  Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) has been helping them.

In partnership with the Government of Canada and its $350-million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF), which aims to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt and increase frontline services for vulnerable populations during the pandemic, ECF funded the Starlight Children’s Foundation $65,470 for a program called Play at Home Packs.

“During this time of social distancing, seriously ill children can’t go outside to play and be distracted like healthy children can,” said Kristina Hopp, communications officer for the foundation. “They have pre-existing conditions and are exponentially at risk as they are strongly immunocompromised. While these new realities and anxieties weigh on Starlight families, our Play From Home Packs remind them that they are certainly not alone, and far from forgotten.”

Together, the Canadian Red Cross, Community Foundations of Canada and United Way Centraide Canada are collaborating with the Government of Canada to flow ECSF support to those who need it most right now.

“The pandemic closed down so many recreational opportunities for kids, and for some kids, even those few alternatives left weren’t an option,” Craig Stumpf-Allen, ECF’s Director of Grants and Community Engagement said. “The Play from Home Packs and online connections are opening up a new opportunity.”

These programs, which are created for children and teens of all ages, include packs with board games, crafts and other interactive activities, national virtual shows to help families connect and cope together, and so much more. Hopp added that in the Edmonton area, more than 600 Play From Home Packs will be delivered, thanks to the support of ECF.

In order to offer families an opportunity to escape isolation virtually, while being a part of something outside the walls of their home, elements of these packs will be streamed on Facebook Live twice a week. The show brings an interactive portion into the homes of Starlight families.

“Happiness delivered right to their doorstep,” Hopp said. “Many of these will involve a national group activity, where children across the country will tune into a virtual Facebook Live stream event with tons of special guests, including our very own Captain Starlight to join in on the fun.”

Play From Home Shows allow children and families to stay connected as they tune in together, and create a community of support online while apart.

Learn more about ECF’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.