Why are Student Nutrition Programs so important?
Children who have not eaten a nutritious breakfast have difficulty learning in school. Hungry children are easily distracted, lethargic, and as a result, often cause disruptions in class. Teachers consistently note that Student Nutrition Programs improve students’ ability to pay attention, concentrate on their schoolwork, exhibit good behaviour, and attend classes more often.
Are only children from low-income families allowed to participate?
No. All children are welcome, no questions asked. Hungry children are not necessarily poor children — the problem of coming to school hungry crosses all socio-economic groups. Our goal is to ensure that all children attend school well nourished and ready to learn.
Why do some children start their day hungry?
There are many reasons why children participate in nutrition programs at school, including: long bus rides, early morning sports and music practices, food insecurity at home, and not feeling hungry first thing in the morning.
What kind of food is served?
Depending on the type of meal and time of day, the menu varies. A breakfast might include fruit, vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and crackers, cheese, milk and yogurt. All student nutrition programs are encouraged to follow the MCCSS Student Nutrition Guidelines (2016) when planning their menu.
Who is involved?
Programs are run by volunteers – often parents, school staff and members of local service organizations. Each program has a site coordinator who oversees the program with support from a group of volunteers. Programs often receive support from local businesses and/or community groups who sponsor programs and donate products.
How many schools in Central East Ontario have Student Nutrition Programs?
There are currently more than 675 schools operating at least one Student Nutrition Program. Many schools provide two programs, such as breakfast and morning snack.
How are Student Nutrition Programs funded?
The provincial Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services supports local nutrition programs with seed funding, while national charities such as Grocery Foundation and Breakfast Club of Canada help some schools with additional funds. Local businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals contribute too, with financial support, in-kind donations and volunteer time to plan, support and deliver breakfast, lunch and snack programs.
What should I do if I want to start, sponsor or volunteer with a program?
Contact us today to learn more!