Welcome to Pincher Creek, Alberta. This testimonial came in through our newest team member, Chelsey, based out of Calgary. Chelsey had the opportunity to visit St. Michael’s School recently and saw with her own eyes just how vulnerable this community was. “Pincher Creek has lots of poverty: some of the kids come from one of the three mobile home parks in the area, and some are coming from the brocket reserve. Many of the reserve kids are the ones who are accessing the program, and it is usually these kids who need it the most.’
The opioid crisis has really hit this reserve, and many kids have family members who have been affected. The Shell, who has employed many people in the community in the past, has downsized and might shut down. Other jobs in the town are at places like shops and restaurants, and these establishments are often only offering minimum wage.
Liz Dolman, Family School Liaison Officer and school counselor at local St. Michael’s School, coordinates the breakfast program (they call it ‘brunch’). She is a strong advocate for the children of her school and shared this story with us:
“We have two brothers, one in grade 1 and the other in grade 4, who have usually not had breakfast when they arrive at school, and whose lunches from home typically consist of a bag of chips or Cheezies, a pudding cup and a Twinky. Although we have tried to educate the parents about healthy lunch food options this situation has not changed. We advised the parents about our brunch program and they agreed that our school could provide the boys with the food they need. We provide them with a healthy whole wheat wrap with lettuce, turkey or ham and cheese, a small bag of fresh carrots or cucumbers and an apple. They absolutely love the wraps and carrots and eat the apples with contentment. We are thrilled that they are receiving the nutrition that they need!”
Liz’s testimonial is both disturbing and encouraging; it sheds the light on the harsh reality of too many students that are in need of better, more nutritious food if we want them to succeed. It also puts forward people who care, and who support these kids through various programs, including school breakfast programs. This story, these two brothers, bring to the forefront the importance of our mission to nurture the potential and give an equal chance of success to all kids, one breakfast at a time.