As the summer break is approaching, students and school staff all look forward to a well-deserved vacation. For the Breakfast Club of Canada team, summer is actually a pretty busy period. Robin and Ryan from our Ontario and Western Canada Programs team explain why, as they look back at the 2017-2018 school year and give us a sneak peek at what’s to come next year.
Since Breakfast Club Canada expanded its operations outside of Quebec 10 years ago, the number of school breakfast programs has been growing every year. Was this year any different?
Ryan: It certainly wasn’t! In fact, we can say the word of the year for our field team was growth. We opened more than 30 new breakfast programs, and our team has also grown to ensure we can provide top quality service to all of Ontario and Western Canada.
The Western Canada Programs Team in Vancouver this Spring
On the other hand, our school wait list for a breakfast program has also grown; we get 2-3 new applications every week. Being 98% privately funded, this means our Development team needs to be more creative than ever to find individuals and companies that want to support our mission.
What is the Programs team going to work on this summer?
Robin: Summer is a busy period for us as we wrap up the school year and prepare everything for the next one. One project we will be working on over the next few months is creating a set of fun tools such as videos to make it easier for our schools to build healthy, diverse, and fun breakfast menus. We are also very excited about the online meal planner we will be releasing this summer. Another big part of July and August is to prepare our largest annual fundraising campaigns in Costco and Walmart stores across Canada. As you can see, there is no shortage of summer projects for our field team!
Any changes expected next year in our breakfast programs?
Ryan: Come September, we will help all our schools ensure they run universal programs by increasing the minimum attendance to 20% of the total school population. We also want to make sure all these little tummies have the best quality breakfast they can get while maintaining a tight budget. To get there, we’ll continue pushing our high-quality nutrition standards, cutting out products such as chocolate milk, white bread, and sugary cereals, for example.
We will also be collaborating closely with many of our rural area schools to increase efficiencies in food procurement and access to nutritious food.
Can you share your personal highlight of this school year?
Ryan: Personally, I’m very proud of 2 specific programs we opened this school year. The first one is in Alexis Creek, a small community of 75 people located west of Williams Lake in the Chilcotin District, BC. They were affected by last year’s forest fires and many residents have not returned yet, but 15 students attend the breakfast program every school day.
We also opened a program in 100 Mile House, BC, a town of just under 2000 residents; the school we are supporting there feeds 90 children every morning. I know there are still many schools waiting for our support, but it’s great to know Breakfast Club Canada is growing, supporting more and more students with a good meal before class.
Robin: My top experience was visiting a breakfast program in a small school in Destruction Bay, Yukon Territory.
After a quick breakfast and gathering the dozen students, we drove 30 minutes up-river to meet with 2 other schools and head to the river. Along the way, we crossed sand marked with bear paw prints.
We reached the river’s edge where local fishermen showed the children how to net spawning salmon, remove the milk and eggs from the fish, and then fertilize the eggs for incubation over the winter. It was a pretty unique trip.
For those of you going on vacation soon: enjoy it! Also keep an eye online, something new is brewing for us!