Investing in Children has provided our school, Fairmont Public School, with funding for years to support our daily breakfast program. We also have enough funding to create a snack program for the students. Each morning, our volunteers provide fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese, juice, milk and many other items to all students who want to partake. It is important to us that all students are invited to attend, so no one is stigmatized by going to the breakfast program. Investing in Children provides us with enough funding that we can make that happen.
Each morning, once breakfast is finished, the volunteers prepare a large bin with more items that are stored in the fridge near the office. Any student who needs additional food items can come to the office during the nutritional breaks and have access to the food. The bin is generally empty at the end of each day.
It truly makes a difference in many students' lives. I don’t have any one particular story, but I have over 200. We see kids come to school filthy, in clothing that hasn't been washed, with hair that hasn't been brushed, and with surely empty lunch pails. I have witnessed children open their lunch boxes to only find such items as a granola bar and a fruit snack package (no fresh fruit or vegetables, no sandwiches - all processed, sugar-laden food). Many come to school with a single item to eat for the entire day. I believe that some of the kids get most of their food for the day from the school.
Students in our Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program come to our school from all over the Thames Valley District School Board, an area of 7000 km2! Some are getting on their van so early in the morning, that they do not have the time to eat before leaving. Many students with working parents are responsible for getting themselves up and ready in the morning and do not leave enough time to have a bite to eat. Some kids, like my own, just don’t feel physically able to eat when they first wake up in the morning, but by the time they get up, get ready and arrive at school, they start to feel hungry.
Having the breakfast program and snack bin available for the students also gives them a chance to eat and try healthy food that they might not otherwise have the opportunity to eat. The breakfast program provides a social environment where the students can gather in our gym with their food and visit with their friends before starting school, and in some cases, making that daily transition between home and school smoother.
Through Investing in Children, we have been able to create a safe, inclusive place for students to come each morning, whether for a glass of milk, a piece of fruit or a full-on breakfast.
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