Ontario Student Nutrition Program London/Middlesex

I have been very impressed with the setup for the Ontario School Nutrition Program. They help so many students get food each day. In three of the schools I have worked in, I have watched students come in depressed, unsure of themselves, withdrawn. When they come in and are given a wonderful breakfast, including some fresh fruit, they come out of their shell, and begin to smile and sit a little straighter. Every child (and adult) deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and to respect themselves, and getting a good meal to start the day makes a world of difference for so many of our kids. The poverty rate in London and area means that many of our kids come to school ill prepared to learn. I remember one little blond boy in particular who came to school with so many strikes against him before he even set foot in the building. He had a single mother who was not able to be a parent because she was dealing with her own addictions, and so he was responsible for getting himself to school each day. There was only food in the house at the start of the month when the cheques came in. He would come to school disorganized, tired, and often used his body and language inappropriately to express his frustration. We gradually came to realize that a good meal went a long way. We served him breakfast, snacks throughout the day, and sent him home each day with a piece of fruit. This helped him to develop trust and to realize that school was a good place to be. I watched him flourish over the time I was at that school. When I left, he was coming to school regularly, his behaviour had improved significantly, and he was happier and committed to being at school. There are stories like this at every school thanks to the funds provided by OSNP, and I hope you consider assisting them in their work.

- Brenda

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