Students will start the school year on full stomachs thanks to the Breakfast for Kids program, but without more donations, the program won’t last all year.
“I feel comfortable about the first four or five months,” said Breakfast for Kids coordinator Heather Gordon, noting this year’s start-up funds are the result of a public appeal last March. “We were out of money, basically. The appeal allowed us to finish the 2011/12 [school] year and increase support for the 2012/13 [school] year by 28 per cent. That’s a huge success story, and the community needs to be thanked for its generosity.”
Last year the program, which ran in most Coast schools, cost about $10,500, Gordon said.
The Sechelt Nation and the Lions Club both “stepped up last year,” she said.
“Those pieces are significant pieces. They can represent a month or part of a month’s support.”
The Breakfast for Kids program also saw support pour in from Rotary clubs, Legions, seniors’ centres, churches and the general public after Coast Reporter highlighted the need in May of 2012.
Gordon hopes the community will come to the aid of the program once again to ensure its continuation throughout the current school year.
Breakfast for Kids is a program offered throughout School District No. 46 that sees fresh food prepared daily by volunteers. The food is then offered to any student who might be hungry, often casually, on a tray placed in the hallway for kids to pick at as they walk by.
Although it sounds simple, Gordon said a few carrot sticks and a bagel can change struggling learners into students who excel.
“Children who sit down at a desk in the morning without having had anything to eat since maybe 7 p.m. the night before are not ready to learn, there’s no question about that. All the evidence says that,” Gordon said. “And most of us know that our mood is not at its best when we’re hungry, so beyond learning there are behavioural benefits too.”
She’s asking for public donations to the program this year, but added she’s about to retire as coordinator, so all donations and inquiries should be directed to the new coordinator, Ted Chisholm.
Cheques can be made out to School District No. 46 with Breakfast for Kids in the memo line and sent to Box 1545, Sechelt B.C. V0N 3A0.
The program also needs more people to come forward who are willing to donate time or healthy food to the program.
To help out or for more information, call Chisholm at 604-989-5365 or email email@example.com.