From May 16 to June 16, 2022, over 3,000 breakfast programs from across the country are invited to join Breakfast Club of Canada’s Breakfast in Unison to celebrate the outstanding work of the volunteers and school teams who devote their time and energy to ensure everything runs smoothly and children can get a healthy start to the day.
In the weeks leading up to these celebrations, schools and community organizations were asked to nominate a Breakfast Champion whose drive and determination are vital to their program. The result: over a hundred nominees from coast to coast to coast!
A special thank-you to all our Breakfast Champions from everyone here at BCC for what you do, day in and day out, for the next generation.
- Karen Alook, volunteer at St. Theresa School for the past year: Karen is the head cook at the school and enthusiastically creates breakfasts for the students that are nutritious and yummy. She regularly jokes around with the students, making the start of the day a great time for all.
- Colleen Atkinson, volunteer at Wabamun School for the past 7 years: Colleen is a very dedicated volunteer who has coordinated our breakfast program. All our students and staff know her and look forward to her daily interactions as she hands out breakfast each morning.
- Josée Bernard, volunteer at the Centre-Nord School Board for the past 2 years: Josée is very dedicated to the breakfast program. It benefits students who wouldn’t otherwise have breakfast before arriving at the school. She is also attentive to students who have less to eat and makes sure that the leftovers are never wasted.
- Ellen Bessala, volunteer at Bishop McNally High School for the past 4 years: Ellen is one of the friendly faces who greets students at our school each morning. Her fun-loving energy draws students over to receive a healthy meal to start their day. Going above and beyond is second nature to her.
- Rhonda Collins, volunteer at St. Paul Alternate Education Centre for the past 7 years: Rhonda is an absolute pleasure to work with. She comes to school early each day to start breakfast for our whole school’s student population and does it with a smile on her face.
- Jane Geddes, volunteer at Brentwood Elementary School for the past 2 years: Not only does Jane help prepare the muffins that kids enjoy daily, but she also ensures we always have breakfast items readily available.
- Annik Guevremont, volunteer at La Mosaïque School for the past 7 years: Annik is always on task! She makes sure that every single student who takes part in our program eats their breakfast.
- Shannon Hicks, volunteer at Crowther Memorial Junior High School for the past 3 years: Shannon prepares the breakfasts every morning, delivers the containers and helps other volunteers.
- Jamie Hill, volunteer at Dr. Ken Sauer School for the past 2 years: Jamie is a wonderful lady who cares deeply about supporting our students. She makes them feel like they are eating their breakfast at a restaurant and chats with them in the morning. It sets them up for a successful day.
- Ashton Ketchum, young volunteer at St. Mary’s Catholic School for the past year: Ashton was the only student to step forward as a volunteer to help our program operate. He takes great pride in assisting with the selection of the offerings for our school’s daily breakfast and sets everything out.
- Shelly Lagran, volunteer at Southview Elementary School for the past 4 years: Before we had funding from BCC, Shelly used to volunteer and made sure the students had something to eat. She would go grocery shopping, as well as bake muffins at home on the weekends.
- Don Lakusta and Vivian Kham, volunteers at John D. Bracco Junior High School for the past 2 years: Don coordinates the breakfast program. He does the food pickups and all the planning. He is supportive and hard-working. Vivian is a young teacher who has jumped right in at an organizational level. Her commitment, organization and support are amazing!
- Cheryle Langley, volunteer at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary/Junior High School for the last 5 years: Cheryle makes a difference in the lives of our children every day. She goes above and beyond, knowing the importance of a good nutritional start to the day.
- Jessica Lovel, volunteer at Chief Justice Milvain School for the past year: Jessica goes above and beyond every day to support the students. She is organized and always prepared to greet students in the morning. It is her hard work that has made the program such a success.
- Caroline Michaud, volunteer at De la Source School for the past 4 years: Caroline is generous and kind-hearted. She always keeps in mind what is best for the kids. We cannot express how much she has helped our students.
- Leona Miko, volunteer at St. Damien School for the past 3 years: Leona has always supported our students with a big heart. She encourages our students to be their best and provides nutrition with a smile.
- Alaina Nicolet, young volunteer at Children of St. Martha School for the past 2 years: Alaina meets and greets everyone. She notices those who need an extra connection in the morning and is happy to start them off with a smile, friendly words, and a choice of a hot or cold breakfast.
- Jody Poitras, volunteer at Webster Niblock School for the past year: Jody was the reason our school could start the breakfast program. She helped with everything. The students love seeing her each day when they come down to the kitchen for breakfast.
- Anna Kelly Redcrow, young volunteer at Light of Christ School for the past 3 years: Anna comes every morning with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. She is a great mentor for the new volunteers. Her patience and kindness always shine through.
- Katarina Rivard, volunteer at St. Peter Elementary School for the past year: Katarina has been an amazing organizer of our breakfast program. She dedicates her time and energy to it every day. She is our one and only Breakfast Champion, serving over 80 students each day.
- Tara Roen, volunteer at Dr. Gladys McKelvie Egbert School for the past 5 years: Tara is committed to being at school by 7 a.m. every morning to support the program. She orders the food based on everyone’s needs and favourites, organizes everything and welcomes the students.
- Andrea Savino, volunteer at St. Monica School for the past 4 years: We strongly believe that our breakfast program would not be what it is without Andrea. She is dedicated and committed to providing healthy meals to start the day for all our students.
- Evelyn Schultz, volunteer at Lauderdale School for the past 6 years: Evelyn truly cares about the students and staff at Lauderdale School. She uses the breakfast program to connect with students of all grades. They love going to the breakfast program that she has created.
- Treina Selthun, volunteer at Beacon Heights School for the past 20 years: Treina is the heart of our school and the heart of the breakfast program. She and her husband spend hours of their own time sourcing food, getting donations and prepping materials for our program.
- Amina Serroukh, volunteer at St. Teresa of Calcutta Catholic Elementary School for the past year: Amina has been running our breakfast program this year and is a phenomenal employee and co-worker. Our students call her “Auntie” because she has such a great relationship with them.
- Marilyn Sharp, volunteer at Clive School for the past 8 years: Marilyn faithfully comes to our school once a week, but she does not come empty-handed. She always brings us a new recipe for the kids to try. She also volunteers in the classrooms to help students who are struggling with reading.
- Sandra Sims, volunteer at Pioneer Middle School for more than 5 years: Sandra does a lot of the shopping on her own time and comes in early every day to set things up.
- Julie Talbot and Monica Andrew, volunteers at Holy Trinity Catholic School for the past 2 and 8 years: Julie always puts students’ needs first. She supports the breakfast program in many aspects. Monica advocates for students to have a healthy start to their day. Through her work, the program continues to be a success each year. We are lucky to have them.
- Dawn Tees, volunteer at Clive School for the past 8 years: Dawn greets 100-plus kids every day with breakfast and a huge smile. It’s a great way for students to start each day at our school!
- Sheldon Thompson, volunteer at Vegreville Composite High School for the past 7 years: Sheldon has been extremely dedicated to the success of this program and values the contribution it makes in the daily routine of our students.
- Stasia Uhlmann, volunteer at West Central High School since the program started: Stasia is a kind and compassionate person who knows the importance of feeding our kids. We live about an hour away from some of the larger stores, yet Stasia routinely takes time from her weekends to make sure the program is always supplied.
- Sharmin Unwin, volunteer at St. Matthew Catholic School for the past 5 years: Sharmin has given her time to make our program a success! She contributes to the program in all aspects: she organizes the groceries, plans the menus and coordinates the volunteers to get food to our students!
- Mandy Weiss, volunteer at Medicine Hat Public School Division for the past few years: Mandy is at the centre of the breakfast program, engaging with the students and being that welcoming, friendly face they get to see when they arrive. Not only is Mandy providing their basic need of food, but she is also supporting their emotional well-being.
- Brad White, volunteer at Kikino School for the past 3 years: Brad is our school admin assistant. He does a lot for the breakfast program and gives us Indigenous connections to food, with recipes and the use of the Cree language.
- Sally Anderson, volunteer at John Howitt Elementary School for the past 5 years: Without Sally’s hard work and support, we would not have a breakfast program at our school. Her coordination and support in getting us items to feed students have been very helpful.
- Sabine Cooperman, volunteer at Clearwater Secondary School for the past 2 years: Sabine has been supportive of the breakfast program for years, but since the completion of the renovations to our cafe, partly funded by Breakfast Club of Canada, she has been making a deluxe breakfast once a week.
- Sandra Dube, volunteer at Skeena Middle School for a few years: Sandra has been working at the school as long as I can remember. Years ago, when I was a classroom teacher, she would feed so many children each morning. I am blown away by the work she does.
- Sherry Hamilton and Joanie Tronson, volunteers at Sensisyusten House of Learning since its beginning: Sherry is an enthusiastic champion of all things related to ensuring that kids have food to eat. She is tireless. Joanie goes out of her way to prepare the very best meals for our students each and every day.
- Dawn Hippisley, volunteer at Kitwanga Elementary School for more than 15 years: Dawn is a tireless volunteer. She arrives at school 45 minutes before she begins her position to serve children every single morning. She cooks, she cleans, and she takes her tending to our students’ needs to heart. Our program would not have the heart and soul that it currently does without her.
- Rylei Hunter, volunteer at A.D. Rundle Middle School for the past 4 years: Rylei never misses a morning. She organizes all our food sharing for students. She does everything she can to make sure they are fed and supported.
- Naomi Lajeunesse, volunteer at Bayview Elementary School for the past year: Naomi is an education assistant who comes with baking and cooking experience. When she is not preparing “the best muffins ever” (said by a Grade 1 student), she is supporting vulnerable learners in our school.
- Julie McCutcheon, volunteer at John Allison Elementary School for the past 2 years: Julie runs the breakfast program in the spirit that makes it so much more than food. She greets students with warmth and interest, provides and remembers their preferred breakfast choices, and checks in with them as to how they are doing.
- Maria Paul, volunteer at Sxoxomic Community School for the past 4 years: Maria has a caring and motherly way about her. She treats the students as if they were her own children, with kindness and compassion.
- October Pinyon, volunteer at LNIB School for the past 2 years: October enjoys helping in the kitchen twice a week. She is very friendly and always positive.
- Wendy Prebble, volunteer at Houston Secondary School for the past 4 years: Wendy is a Breakfast Champion because she gives so much more than breakfast to our students. She is a caring adult for so many of our vulnerable kids. Her role is about much more than nutrition and quality choices.
- Marina Rubinato, volunteer at Hazelton Secondary School since the beginning: Marina is the main coordinator of our breakfast program. She goes above and beyond with everything she does. She cares a great deal for students’ well-being and works very hard to meet not just their nutritional needs, but their emotional needs as well.
- Stirring Church, supporters of Highland Park Elementary School: They donated $5,000. They do the shopping, based on our list, and drop the items off at the school.
- Vicki Walker, volunteer at Shoreline Community Middle School for more than 10 years: Vicki has worked tirelessly to facilitate both a breakfast program and a hot lunch program for all students who require food. This amounts to 40 to 50 meals each day.
- Lisa Moore, volunteer at Revelstoke Secondary School for the past few years: Lisa has helped many schools in Revelstoke and the adults who head the breakfast programs. Her support and caring for what this organization does are what make it possible to bring breakfast to as many children as we do.
- Lenora Santurbano, volunteer at Roosevelt Park Community School for the past 2 years: Lenora comes in early every day because she cares about what our students get to eat for breakfast. She ensures they get a warm connection in the morning, in addition to an amazing nutritional start to their day.
- Sylvie Dufour, volunteer at McIsaac School for the past 5 years: Sylvie worked very hard to set up a committee to implement the breakfast program in the school. She still oversees the program and keeps it running smoothly.
- Karen Lambert, volunteer at Archwood School for the past few months: Karen makes sure all students get breakfast every morning and is devoted to making their morning brighter and happier.
- Kari Payne and Charlene Cox, volunteers at Happy Thought School for the past 2 years: Kari and Charlene are educational assistants at our school. They are constantly volunteering their time before school to help cook breakfast or to get the breakfast bins ready. Our program would not run as effectively as it does without their support.
- Angel Constant, volunteer at Joe A. Ross School for the past 2 years: Angel kept the breakfast program running on time when no one was able to help out with the program.
- Josh Grisdale, volunteer at Helen Betty Osborne Ininiw Education Resource Centre for the past 5 years: Josh is a great worker with heart. He connects well with students and will go a long way to help and be available for them.
- Erin Mabie, volunteer at Birchmount School for the past year: Erin is very organized, kind and caring. She creates lists, organizes the meals, purchases food, prepares it and helps others in the program. We are very thankful for her!
- Heather Milner, volunteer at Dorchester School for many years: Heather is an educational assistant at our school. She comes in early to get breakfast ready and delivers trays to classrooms. She is never frazzled, goes with the flow and is very accommodating.
- Kathleen Mcleod, volunteer at Echo Dene School since its beginning: Kathleen has never missed a hot breakfast for our students, knowing how important it is to have something to eat before starting the day.
- Darlene Pawis, volunteer at Kinomaugewgamik Elementary School, for so many years: Darlene goes above and beyond when it comes to our breakfast program. In addition to serving on our staff for the past 20 years, she is the program’s part-time nutrition coordinator.
- Avis Anez, volunteer at New Carlisle High School for the past 3 years: Avis works tirelessly every day to make sure that our students start the day off with a nutritious breakfast. She comes in early to prepare breakfast before her regular workday begins.
- Dan Aucoin, volunteer at Mansonville Elementary School for the past 10 years: Dan is the backbone of our breakfast program. He works hard for it. This program simply could not exist without him.
- Geneviève Bélanger, volunteer at Flemming Elementary School for the past 3 years: Geneviève is the sole volunteer for the breakfast program and goes above and beyond with preparation and organization of breakfast goods. There is not a big enough THANK-YOU for everything she does!
- Sylvie Corbeil, volunteer at Sautjuit School for the past 3 years: Sylvie oversees the breakfast program. She organizes the meals, recruits people, makes deliveries, manages the inventory and even sometimes goes to pick up the food at the airport. We couldn’t do it without her.
- Mark Dempster, volunteer at Badabin Eeyou School for the past year: Mark plans the orders, coordinates food deliveries and communicates with the staff. He does it all!
- Carolyn Desmond, volunteer at Beurling Academy for the past 3 years: Carolyn makes sure that each student can have a breakfast, and she does it with a smile and a “good morning.” Even if a student is late and misses the breakfast, she will take the time and make sure they get something to eat before going to class.
- Myriam Farley, volunteer at LINKS High School for a few years: Myriam’s dedication and commitment to our students is exemplary. She is active in all the aspects of the breakfast program. It has changed the lives of our students, and this wouldn’t be possible without her hard work.
- Mary Franklin, volunteer at Golden Valley School for more than 5 years: Mary saw a need at our school and got the breakfast program started. She ensures that the food is delivered and that each child gets breakfast. When we have children who are not part of the program but are hungry, she makes sure that they are fed.
- Evelyn Fuller and Anthony Hester, volunteers at Luke Mettaweskum School for the past 4 years and past year: Evelyn takes on all the organizing of the breakfast program. It wouldn’t run without her! Anthony just started working for the school this year. Without even being asked, he began helping out with the program every day, although he is only scheduled to work three out of five days. This kind gesture has helped keep our breakfast program running.
- Marie-Hélène Gagnon, volunteer at Options High School for the past 2 years: Marie-Hélène goes above and beyond to make the breakfast program a huge success. She always has a smile on her face as she makes sure that our students are well fed. Her warmth and passion radiate to everyone in our school community.
- Kristy Girvan, volunteer at Farnham Elementary School for the past few years: Kristy shows up every morning at 6:15 a.m. with her three children and gets busy in the kitchen preparing all the breakfast trays. She is our champion!
- Paul Karpontinis, volunteer at Lester B. Pearson High School for the past 6 years: Paul is committed to giving all the students the best-quality breakfast and making sure they get what they need to have a successful day.
- Darrell Kean, volunteer at Greater Gatineau Elementary School for more than 5 years: Darrell arrives early at work and volunteers for the breakfast program. He organizes all the food that we receive and prepares it for our students. We are very lucky to have him.
- Lisa Lepore, volunteer at Joliette Elementary School for the past 5 years: Lisa has been a tireless parent volunteer for many years. She became part of our staff this year but has remained steadfastly committed to the program, arriving early and staying late to ensure that our team has everything they need.
- Natasha Lo Basso, volunteer at Pierrefonds Community High School for the past 5 years: Natasha coordinates the entire breakfast program. She organizes the student volunteers and prepares the breakfasts for our school. She is a true champion of our breakfast program!
- Wahienhawi McGregor, volunteer at Karonhianónhnha Tsi Ionterihwaienstáhkhwa School for the past 2 years: Wahienhawi is our breakfast program coordinator. Each morning, she delivers breakfast to each individual class, where she can also connect with the students, wish them a good day and encourage everyone to make good choices. She is our Breakfast Champion!
- Anastasia Mulcare, volunteer at Carlyle Elementary School for the past 3 years: Anastasia is well organized, always thinks of the students and is kind, generous and engaged in the breakfast program.
- Sue Purcell and Sheila Morrison, volunteers at Verdun Elementary School for the past 5 years: Sue has always shown flexibility and great problem-solving skills. Her smile, good humour and willingness to always go the extra mile make her an exceptional volunteer. Sheila is here every day, preparing a delicious breakfast for the children. She loves to chat with the students and staff and makes everyone feel special and loved.
- Maria Sansalone, volunteer at Gerald McShane Elementary School for the past 5 years: Maria is there EVERY morning to make sure the bins are distributed and picked up afterward, ready to go for the next morning.
- Melissa Smithman, volunteer at Voyageur Memorial High School for the past 2 years: Melissa was one of the first people to propose the idea of providing breakfast in our school. She is dedicated to the success and well-being of our students and proves it through her actions.
- Sandra Tartamella and Dolores DeMichele, volunteers at Edward Murphy Elementary School for the past 5 years: Sandra is a devoted and reliable person who ensures everyone’s well-being. She is always available and willing to support our students. Dolores is always ready to help! She arrives early every morning with a smile on her face. The program would not run smoothly without her.
- Alexandra Urban-Desnoyers, volunteer at Beurling Academy for the past year: Alexandra’s care and attention to making sure our students are set up for a successful day are amazing. She does it all with a smile and a “good morning.” She is our main link to the organization and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
- Andy Wheeler, volunteer at Waterloo Elementary School for a few years: Andy works the midnight shift and comes in after to make sure our students are fed every single day. He spends his weekends cooking and is always there making sure every student has had their fill. We could not do this without him.
- Theresa Burkholder, volunteer at Seven Stones Community School for many years: Our students appreciate Theresa and thank her every day for all the wonderful work she does for our breakfast program. They truly enjoy spending time with her and digging into the delicious breakfast that she has prepared.
- Michelle Crawford, volunteer at Vincent Massey Public School for the past 3 years: Michelle ran a small business creating meals. I approached her to ask if she would be interested in baking for our breakfast program. She was more than willing to take on this task. Her weekly addition has really added a homemade touch.
- Jean Mager and Rachelle Whitrow, volunteers at Mount Royal Collegiate for the past 5 years: Jean encourages students to participate in the making of the food and gets their ideas on how to make items tastier. Rachelle has an amazing personality. Her smile and friendly demeanour are what makes our students feel so comfortable and accepted at the breakfast program.
- Alisa Meyer, volunteer at Maverick School for many years: Alisa is efficient, positive and caring. Students know that, when breakfast comes around, they are guaranteed great nutrition and a friendly morning greeting!
- Shari Pfneisl, volunteer at Albert Community School for the past 2 years: Shari has worked incredibly hard to develop a nutrition program where every child is given breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack. It is one of the reasons many of our students come to school each day.
- Bonnie Wersta, volunteer at Coronation Park Community School for the past 4 years: Bonnie has the biggest heart. She plans each day’s breakfast with love and care. She comes up with such creative and exciting options that are nutritious and taste fabulous!
These no-bake cookies can be customized to include any extra toppings of your choice!
Serves: 16 | Prep Time: 5 mins | Total Time: 15 mins + 1hr chilling time
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 2 tsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp chia seeds
- 1 1/2 cups oats
- Chopped almonds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Place the peanut butter, honey and vanilla in a bowl.
- Stir the mixture until well combined, then add in the remaining ingredients.
- Stir well and ensure everything is well incorporated.
- Roll the mixture into 16 balls and place the balls on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Press the balls flat slightly and place them in the fridge for at least an hour.
For more delicious recipes, check out the Club’s cookbook!
On this National Volunteer Week, I am very pleased to share with you this new CEO Blog series. As President and CEO of Breakfast Club of Canada, I am committed to forging strong ties with the community, always with the objective of continuing to help children across the country reach their full potential.
The well-being of children, whether it be those affected by poverty, social exclusion, food insecurity and anything in between. has been and continues to be of the utmost importance in guiding my actions both in my personal and professional life. When I joined Breakfast Club of Canada over three years ago, I was determined to ensure that the Club not only continues to expand its reach across the country, but also build its relationships with the communities we serve, as the daily contribution of volunteers and members of the community is essential to the success of organizations like ours.
Today, I would like to invite you to explore the possibility of giving your time, volunteering in the community.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned in the 40 years I have worked in the community sector, it’s that there is always a need for more support. During this National Volunteer Week, we can all look at the various ways in which we can become more involved in our respective communities.
It can be as simple as gathering information on local organizations that operate in our area and how we can get involved with them. Those who volunteer their time with organizations in their neighbourhoods often gain great satisfaction from the experience, as they see how simple it is to make a concrete difference in the lives of those around them.
Another great way to get involved locally is by offering our help at local schools and participating in regional events. We can join a mentorship program and become a positive influence for the youth in our neighbourhood. Or perhaps spend time with those more isolated who would appreciate the company.
Another critically important action is to spread the word with our surroundings on causes that are important to us and to encourage others to get involved. Awareness always plays a key role for so many organizations and having people on the ground who share causes they care about can help increase notoriety within the community.
When it comes to volunteering, every action counts. It is an incredibly personal choice and I encourage you to experience it in your own way. I am confident that we can all make a difference in our own way, no matter what we have to offer.
Every action, big or small, makes an important difference in our local communities. I strongly believe that a life is never fully lived without the gift of self.
Have a great National Volunteer Week!
Created more than 50 years ago, Earth Day is now celebrated by over 1 billion people around the world. Together, they strive to raise public awareness and take action on a number of pressing issues affecting our planet. Climate change and environmental degradation are undoubtedly the greatest threats to humanity in the 21st century.
Breakfast Club of Canada is proud to work with a number of partners who are committed to finding solutions to these critical challenges.
Trudeau Corporation: Reusable containers
Trudeau Corporation has been a BCC partner since 2020, when the pandemic broke out. In order to comply with the public health restrictions in place at the time, new approaches were introduced for serving breakfast to students, most of which were centred on individually packaged food products.
But Trudeau Corporation had a more planet-friendly solution in mind: they donated 5,000 reusable sandwich boxes to 45 breakfast programs in Quebec and Ontario.
Still Good: Fighting food waste
Still Good is a leading advocate of reducing global food waste. By teaming up with BCC, they are helping not only to feed children but also to rescue surplus food that would otherwise be thrown away.
Still Good gives a second life to nutritious ingredients, such as malted barley residue, and fruit and vegetable pulp, by upcycling them into delicious breakfast cookies that provide children with the energy they need to learn.
West Coast Seeds: Growing food for growing children
The people at West Coast Seeds are known for their green thumb and their high-quality products. They sell and ship hundreds of varieties of plant, vegetable, flower and other seeds across the country.
Since 2020, they have been doing their part for the next generation by donating a portion of the sales of select products to Breakfast Club of Canada. So as they are encouraging more Canadians to get out and get gardening, they are also helping to provide an equal chance of success to thousands of children from coast to coast to coast.
MicroHabitat: Making a difference, one plant at a time
MicroHabitat specializes in transforming urban rooftops and other spaces into nourishing gardens.
They help build sustainable food systems in urban communities, parks and schools, where children can learn about the rewards of growing their own food.
They are proud to offer financial support to Breakfast Club of Canada through the sale of MicroHabitat pots — a wonderful way to green up our cities while making sure more children get a healthy start to their day.
For more partner-led initiatives, click here.
Discover the Pigiurvik Elementary School program, located in the city of Salluit. This breakfast program is proof that good organization and the involvement of everyone can make a difference!
Mary Kennard, teacher at Pigiurvik Primary School
What is the one thing people need to know about your program?
The program is needed and appreciated in the community. Through Breakfast Club of Canada, food can be provided to everyone, with enough variety to please all, so everyone is welcome to say they would like to have cereal, milk, toast, fruit, or ask for more.
What are you most proud of in your program?
I’m proud that the teachers and administration recognize the importance of the club to the students in the school. They understand a student who has a full stomach is engaged and ready to learn.
I’m also proud that not only the teachers but the whole school community signed up to be a part of the breakfast program. When a large order arrives, everyone pitches in to help, from unloading the deliveries, sorting, and shelving the foods, to store the empty boxes!
What food could your breakfast program not go without?
It seems to be those Oatbox blueberry breakfast bars. The kids love them! They are the first thing we run out of!
If you could invite someone famous to breakfast at your school, who would it be and why?
I would invite our Governor General, Mary Simon. The children, however, might like to invite a band. Maybe The Jerry Cans!
Special breakfasts: What do kids look forward to?
We used to make pancakes. Unfortunately, our special breakfasts were pre-COVID-19, and sadly we haven’t been able to have one in a long time. Some students would measure and mix the ingredients, while others would cook the pancakes. Still others would count the number of people and put forks and plates on the table. Then we ate — pancakes, milk to drink, and fruit! Everyone helped clean up, and wash and dry the dishes. It was great fun for teachers and students — loud and a little chaotic — but still enjoyable. Occasionally, two classes would cook together, for twice the fun!
Special thanks to Mary Kennard, teacher at Pigiurvik Primary School in Salluit, in northern Quebec.
Breakfast Club of Canada has been a proud partner of Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation (NLSF) since 2015. They do a phenomenal job of mobilizing community resources in their network and preparing food deliveries for schools through their food depot. In 2021–2022, the number of schools supported by BCC under NLSF reached 21, with an average of 1,291 students benefiting daily.
In December, two BCC staff members had a chance to visit this dedicated Vancouver Island partner. The day brought several exciting moments as they joined NLSF’s Executive Director, Crystal Dennison, to visit several school programs and the food depot. They learned about the organization’s incredible local impacts along the way.
The first stop was Bayview Elementary School, where the breakfast program is run by the principal, Stephanie Stephens, and an educational assistant, Naomi Lajeunesse. Naomi has a strong passion for student nutrition and enjoys cooking and baking. She shared that NLSF’s food delivery service is highly appreciated because she wouldn’t have the time to shop for her breakfast program otherwise. Naomi praised NLSF’s healthy food support and how responsive Crystal is. “Time is the only thing that I wish I could have more of for the breakfast program,” said Naomi during the visit, which showed how limited staff resources are for running a breakfast program and emphasized the value of NLSF’s food delivery services.
The next stop was to one of the most robust school meal programs supported by NLSF, at John Barsby Community School. The program serves both breakfast and lunch in addition to providing food to five feeder schools. It is supported by Holly Knox, culinary arts teacher, and 25 students from her cooking program. There are two breakfast options: a centralized grab-and-go station and a classroom order delivery model. For the latter, students order from the menu, and meals are delivered to each classroom by cooking program participants. Holly couldn’t help but tear up when talking about how NLSF has helped the school grow the program to where it is today. She also thanked BCC for their generous and continuous support of NLSF.
The final stop was NLSF’s food depot, where all the magic happens! The food depot is where food donations and bulk purchases are sorted, stored and distributed to schools across the Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district. Tracy Gilbert, NSLF’s School Food Coordinator, is usually there to help load the Food4Schools delivery vehicle. She gave a fantastic tour of the depot — a bright and spacious area that is well equipped with both dry and cold storage. Healthy food products were neatly arranged on the shelves for easy sorting and retrieval. Surprisingly, Tracy is the only staff member coordinating food logistics and sorting deliveries at the depot, with occasional help from community members.
The depot and the schools visited are all a part of an innovative and impactful system created by Tracy and Crystal and supported by many others. The program used to be run out of Tracy and Crystal’s office until it was relocated to a storage unit and finally to this beautiful and well-organized location. The two have been consistently working side by side to extend the program impacts to more students and school communities.
When asked what the future looked like for NLSF’s Food4Schools program, Crystal shared that they hope the depot can grow into a fully functioning commercial kitchen, where they can cook and prepare food for participating schools. The schools benefit greatly from having food items delivered to them, but they still need to spend time preparing meals every morning. Crystal hopes that one day NLSF can take on that responsibility to free up even more time for educators to focus on teaching while the organization takes care of feeding the students.
This is all part of visualizing a future where all children can be fed equitably, and communities can rise together. BCC greatly appreciates NLSF’s dedication in running such an amazing food program and making the most of the resources and networks at their disposal to sustain quality breakfast programs for local school communities.
If you would like to learn more about NLSF’s Food4Schools program, you can visit their website at: https://www.nlsf.ca/food4schools/
If you are interested in John Barsby Community School’s meal program, be sure to watch this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFkV2TANZ68