bénévoles

 

Maverick School joined Breakfast Club of Canada in December 2021. See what their principal, Jayne Nicholson, has to say about their daily breakfast program.

 

 What is the one thing people need to know about your breakfast program?

The most important thing you need to know about our breakfast program is that students are truly appreciative of the opportunity to enjoy breakfast when they arrive at school! They LOVE smoothies!

Student drinking smoothie

What are you most proud of in your breakfast program?

I’m most proud of how the program has been streamlined. Students order their breakfast through a Google Chat with our breakfast program coordinator, and food is delivered right to students’ work area. This began because of COVID, but I think we will keep it in place as it is time-efficient and there is no food waste! I’m also proud and grateful that the additional funds have allowed us to ensure food security over school breaks in the form of food hampers containing non-perishable breakfast items.

 

Is there a student/school staff/community member who has gone above and beyond in your breakfast program?

I’d like to give a shout-out to Alisa Meyer, our coordinator. Lis is kind, caring and efficient! She knows that students value her work, and she is always eager to try new breakfast items to expand our menu and provide variety. On Fridays, she creates a breakfast casserole, pancakes or French toast as a special treat. She is mindful of the budget and keeps our kitchen shiny clean. Our breakfast program is in capable and caring hands. Thank you, Lis!

Student eating toast

Special breakfasts: What do students look forward to?

SMOOTHIES! Wow, do they love smoothies! Our smoothies contain a variety of fruits, greens and Greek yogurt to make sure that hit of protein is part of their morning meal. They also love breakfast wraps.

 

Have students asked for specific foods? What are they? Any interesting, unique requests?

We have not had requests for specific foods. Everyday breakfast items include fruit and yogurt, whole wheat toast, oatmeal, low-sugar cereals and, of course, smoothies!

Indigenous communities

In early April, schools across Canada joined our Virtual Gathering Place, an online platform where they could share their successes and challenges in incorporating Indigenous foods and practices into breakfast and other meal programming. Participants also touched on ways to honour the values and communities of the tradutional territories within which their programs operate. Three main topics were covered: challenges and solution; cultural practices and interconnectedness of food, and recipe sharing.

 

Successes

There were many challenges shared, ranging from time and space within the school community to prepare meals, to food safety regulations and student preferences. However, along with these came many innovative solutions:

  • Reducing preparation time:Schools had great ideas to share to help cut down on prep time in the mornings, like baking bannock in a large sheet pan and slicing it into pieces with a pizza cutter. Many foods can also be prepared ahead of time in large batches and stored in the freezer, then warmed up in the morning. Bannock, for example, can be prepared the day before. Slightly toasting or heating it up the next day can restore the soft, delicious texture we know and love.
  • Sourcing Indigenous foods:Many schools have found great success in sourcing Indigenous foods through community connections. For example, family or community members who are hunters can provide access to a good supply of meat. Connecting with Elders to gather, harvest or hunt together is also a source of inspiration. Inviting community members or Elders into the school to help make bannock and teach students how to prepare it is another way to introduce traditional foods into your program. Some schools also put out a call to the local community for donations of any meats, foods or produce. Finally, community gardens are a great way to bring foods into your program while maintaining and leveraging local connections.
  • Food safety regulations:It is important to consider and follow the food service regulations relevant to your school. Within these regulations, some schools have created a permission form for wild meat when students register, and others have found success purchasing through a local butcher, as the meat is packaged and date-stamped to meet certain requirements.
  • Introducing students to new foods:Breakfast coordinators have had success introducing unfamiliar foods by including students in the harvesting or preparation process through community gardens or cooking classes. Inviting Elders or Knowledge Keepers to talk to students about what they ate growing up can also help bridge the gap.

 

Cultural Practices, Language and Interconnectedness of Foods and Culture

Using language, valuing togetherness and honouring the ceremony around eating can be great solutions for representing Indigenous ways of knowing and being in your breakfast program. Schools shared with us how they bring singing, language, art and communities together with school events, announcements and classes.

Many schools are limited in time or resources to incorporate Indigenous foods into their daily breakfast program. Hosting a community-wide meal is one idea for incorporating traditional foods and practices. Involving members of the community to help cook foods like bannock or salmon soup is a great way to get the positive energy going. Other school events, like Métis Week or Indigenous Celebration Day, can also be used to get students to try traditional foods and talk about their heritage and families. Some schools hold outdoor cookouts, where students can make bannock on a stick over an open fire, and teachers and community members can share their specialties, like fishing, and harvesting and preparing wild meat. Other ways that some schools have incorporated language and cultural practices into their breakfast programs include announcing the daily breakfast menu in Cree and gathering every morning with singing, drumming and round dancing during breakfast. Another school including learning Cree for students during beading classes.

 

Kicking off Your Breakfast Program and Recipe Sharing 

Some easy recipe ideas to get you started: why not work wild berries into different breakfast dishes? Saskatoon berries, blueberries and other berries can be used in smoothies or parfaits, or served with bannock, pancakes or oatmeal. Fresh summer berries can be preserved by making compote or jam to enjoy all year round.

Bannock can also be served in many ways, including breakfast pizza, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast tacos, French toast or with chili and stew. Try using a blend of whole wheat and white flour, or adding oats or ground oat flour to your bannock, to increase its nutritional value.

Some other ideas:

  • Reach out to Nations in your area for recipes
  • Ask students and their families to share recipes
  • Google or search the local library for a cookbook with local traditional recipes
  • Start a “Bannock of the Month” activity and have students bring in their own family recipes
  • Hold an outdoor cookout and invite local community members
  • View the list of resources from trusted stakeholders that we have compiled here.

 

The Virtual Gathering Place was a part of our dedication to supporting each program’s unique reality, in this case, the focus on an Indigenous worldview. It was also a way to participate in reconciliation. We hope to continue developing our support for traditional and Indigenous foods and to provide more resources for our schools. We are grateful to have learned from the over 160 schools in attendance.

Link to the map: https://bit.ly/3VK6wfG

 

From May 15 to June 16, 2022, over 3,500 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 two hundred nominees from 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.

 

Quebec

Lasalle Elementary Senior
  • Sandra, Collen and Lyncee : Their wonderful contribution to the breakfast program has great impact on the program, school and on the community as a whole. Their overall attitude and spirit while contributing to the program is outstanding.
Gerald McShane Sport Concentration Program
  • Kayla : Kayla has been very dedicated and implicated with her tasks as breakfast monitor, she is always on time and when she can’t be there she somehow finds a way to let me know she cant make it. She is a remarkable young lady.
Wejgwapniag School
  • Isabella : Isabella unloads the transport each month, removes the food, and puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class in the school and helps to place the food in the fridges and shelves of the classroom.
  • Maddie: Maddie unloads the transport each month and puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class. She’s polite and helpful remaining behind at the end of each shift to ensure that the floor and shelves are clean and tidy.
  • Morgan: Morgan unloads the transport each month puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class. She goes above and beyond to clean the floors and ensure that each delivery meets the requirements of each grade.
  • Anabelle: Anabelle unloads the transport each month puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class in the school and helps to place the food in the fridges and shelves of the classroom.
  • Alexa: Alexa unloads the transport each month and puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class. She is polite and willing to help deliver to the classrooms that are further away from the rest of the younger grades.
  • Shyiah: Shyiah unloads the transport each month and puts it away. She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class in the school and helps to place the food in the fridges and shelves of the classroom.
  • Melody: Melody unloads the transport each month and puts it away She works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class in the school and helps to place the food in the fridges and shelves of the classroom.
  • Ryder: Ryder unloads the transport each month and puts it away. He works each week to deliver breakfast baskets to each class in the school and helps to place the food in the fridges and shelves of the classroom.
  • Natalie: Natalie took it upon herself to use the left-over food at the end of the month to cook up snacks for the whole school with her grade 7 students. There was no waste and the whole school appreciated her efforts.
  • Trudy: Trudy took it upon herself to use the left-over food at the end of the month to cook up snacks for the whole school with her grade 7 students. There was no waste and the whole school appreciated her efforts.
  • Rose: Rose noticed two other teachers working to prepare the left-over food at the end of the month and volunteered to help them peel apples for an afternoon. In doing so delicious snacks were provided to the whole school and no food was wasted.
École Mécatina
  • Phoenix : Everyday Phoenix shows up with a smile and enough energy to power a rocket ship, shows dedication to learn how to prep foods and encourages the students to try new things, and is a model student on top of all she does volunteering for breakfast club.
  • Ava: Ava shows up ready to do good for all the right reasons, her energy is always positive, and she brings a thirst to learn all about healthy eating. Ava’s contribution to breakfast club is a blessing to all the students she serves.
  • Harmony: Harmony is the glue that keeps the team together, motivates and drives the team to be our best, always ready to give her time. Breakfast club is only the start of her day, and she makes every student she comes in contact with feel special.
  • Karen: Karen’s continuous dedication to the students of Mecatina is noticed by her peers, always ready to assist in the mornings and has taken the time to engage with each one, breakfast is important to her and she is important to Mecatina school.
John F Kennedy Elementary School
  • Debbie Kalivrousis: Debbie is always willing to step up to the plate when it comes to the “special” breakfast days. i.e., making grilled cheeses, pancake day etc. Nothing is ever too difficult. The breakfast program runs flawlessly because of her.
Sainte Agathe Academy
  • Claire: Claire is my go-to person if someone is absent., always willing to come in last minute, and emergency situations. Annabel and Louis Etienne (her grandchildren and students) come regularly to lead a helping hand.
Heritage Elementary School
  • Pauline: Pauline has been dedicated to the breakfast program for over 15 years. She shows up everyday, to help serve and prepare breakfast. Pauline shows kindness to all she meets. Our breakfast program wouldn’t be possible without her.
Laurentian Elementary School
  • Maddyson: Maddyson helps every day with the Breakfast Program. She is always enthusiastic and has the hard job of bringing the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is only in Grade Two but she already shows leadership skills and responsibility.
  • Jordan: Jordan is a Grade 4 student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program each and every day. She has the hard job of carrying the bins all over the school. She is a leader and is a responsible student.
  • Lexie: Lexie is a grade four student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program each and every day. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Felix: Felix is a grade four student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program each and every day. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Adriana: Adriana is a grade two student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program once a week. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Liam: Liam is a grade five student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program once a week. He has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. He is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Estelle: Estelle is a grade two student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program a few times a week. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Laurence: Laurence is a grade three student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program each and every day. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Elyse: Elyse is a grade four student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program once a week. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Jeanne: Jeanne is a grade five student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program once a week. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.
  • Emma: Emma is a grade six student who chooses to help with the Breakfast Program once a week. She has the hard job of carrying the breakfast bins to each classroom. She is a leader and a responsible student.

Ontario

The Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education & Training
  • Laura Luckasavitch: Laura does it all. She shops, sets up, cleans up, and promotes. She never complains. Never asks for help. And shrugs off “thanks”. She is a friend, a mother, a sounding board, a coach, a guardian, and the list goes on.
  • Shelly: Shelly is incredible, she works so hard at making sure the students at BCI have wonderful options to eat. She works tirelessly for our students to make sure they can learn on a full stomach.
Renfrew County District School Board-Champlain Discovery School
  • Christine: Christine is a force when it comes to her championing of the breakfast club. She is our school contact for all of the Food for Learning communications. She is passionate about supporting our kids and keeping their tummies full!
  • Sherry: Sherry is essential to the smooth operation of our breakfast program. Sherry is passionate about feeding our hungry kids and they all love to see her coming down the hall every morning with her trolley of snack baskets.
  • Glennda: Glennda is the smiling face of our morning breakfast program each day. Her friendly personality and sunny disposition are a perfect fit when hungry kids get to school to have a snack. She sets them on the right track to have a happy day.
Cobden District Public School
  • Sharon: Sharon has been instrumental in organizing the food needs each week and organizing a team to chop and bag vegetables. She works with organizations to source items and is happy to help in any way to help with the nutrition program.
  • Shelly: Shelly is incredible, she works so hard at making sure the students at BCI have wonderful options to eat. She works tirelessly for our students to make sure they can learn on a full stomach.

Alberta

Fort Saskatchewan High School
  • Cathy: Cathy is there every morning volunteering her time to ensure our students get their breakfast. Even though, other staff man the breakfast cart, she still comes in to help.
  • Claudia: Our staff, as part of their supervision schedule, tend to the breakfast cart everyday for a week cycle. As well as serving our students. Greeting students each morning as staff ensures they can start their day off right.
  • Kim: Our staff, as part of their supervision schedule, tend to the breakfast cart everyday for a week cycle. As well as serving our students. Greeting students each morning as staff ensures they can start their day off right.
  • Makinna: Our staff, as part of their supervision schedule, tend to the breakfast cart everyday for a week cycle. As well as serving our students. Greeting students each morning as staff ensures they can start their day off right.
  • Katrina: Our staff, as part of their supervision schedule, tend to the breakfast cart everyday for a week cycle. As well as serving our students. Greeting students each morning as staff ensures they can start their day off right.
  • Curtis: As the principal, Curtis enjoys the unstructured time with our students handing out snacks between classes. It’s a different, positive, way to interact with students, let-your-hair-down, atmosphere. The students love to come to the cart when he’s there.
  • D’anne: As the assistant principal, D’anne enjoys the unstructured time with our students’ providing snacks between classes. It’s a different, positive, way to interact with students. The students love to come to the cart when she’s there.
  • Shonah: Shonah is in the office but whenever we are shorted-handed, or need some assistance, she will take on putting the cart out, so the students don’t miss out. She also ensures that any food orders coming in are properly put away.
  • Serena: Serena is in the office but whenever we are shorted-handed, or need some assistance, she will take on putting the cart out, so the students don’t miss out. The ladies in our office are great.
  • Barb: Barb is in the office but whenever we are shorted-handed, or need some assistance, she will take on putting the cart out, so the students don’t miss out. The ladies in our office are great.
  • Brittney: Brittney will fill in or provide extra help just by asking. Helping at the cart also gives her a different perspective with students. She is always just a text or call away. If items need to be picked up or ordered, she steps up.
  • Simone: Teacher staff are cycled through each week. They get the cart ready each morning, it’s like the ‘welcome wagon’ for students as they enter the school. Our students are very appreciative of this service and appreciate that staff do this for them.
Louis St. Laurent School
  • Marcelo: Marcelo’s infectious smile and genuine laugh make our Breakfast Club location a place where staff and students gravitate to. Each morning, he organizes our Grab and Go cart and wheels it out to the main foyer.
Kikino School Northern Lights School Division #69
  • Kelly: Kelly is a breakfast champion in our school. He greets the students every morning as he goes class to class with his breakfast cart. Kelly is involved in the entire program from menu planning, ordering, receiving, preparation, and distribution.
Lacombe Outreach School
  • Meagen: I would like to nominate Mrs K. She goes way above and beyond for our kiddos. She gets ideas and suggestions from them and makes sure they get special days and nutritious food. The students & staff think the world of her, we are so lucky to have her.
  • Cayley: I am nominating Cayley for all the hard work and dedication she gives to our meal program. She comes in early to make crisps, muffins etc. so that they are ready when kids arrive. She is truly an amazing person! We all love and appreciate her.
Dr. Roy Wilson Learning Center
  • Carrie: Carrie goes above and beyond to meet the breakfast needs of our students at WLC. She is creative with the breakfast program and finds foods that students will enjoy. Carrie is a huge asset to the success of WLC’s breakfast program.
Bentley School
  • Susan: Mrs. Owens is an EA at our school and before we received the grant, she came in early every day of the week to make toast for our students and picked up groceries. Without Mrs. Owens this program would not be possible!
West Meadow Elementary School
  • Anabelle: Anabelle is a very happy, positive, and caring helper for our Breakfast Program. She is always on time, and goes above and beyond to help make our program run smoothly. She is very kind to all the students and helps start their day with a smile!
Herons Crossing School
  • Amanda Crawford: Amanda exceeds all expectations of a parent volunteer at Herons Crossing School for the Breakfast. Amanda is an amazing person, who is very generous with her time and commitment to this program.
John D. Bracco Junior High School
  • Don Lakusta: Don organizes all the needed details for our breakfast program and supports staff involvement by providing opportunities for staff involvement and feedback. He goes out of his way to access community supports all while teaching full-time.
  • Alisha Spence: Alisha provides the support and direction for our other 2 Breakfast Champions which results in a wonderful team effort that provides an awesome breakfast program that our teachers provide all our students
Light of Christ School (Calgary)
  • Queeta: Queeta has been working with the Breakfast Club since September. Queeta is a great ambassador for the Breakfast club at our school and we are lucky to have her. The Breakfast Club has brought a lot to her, and she brings a lot to the Breakfast club.
  • Ross: Ross always has a smile on her face when she is delivering the baskets in the morning and picking them up in the afternoon. Teachers have mentioned to me that she is very sweet and polite doing her duties for the Breakfast Club.
Athabasca Delta Community School
  • Priscilla: Priscilla prepares and serves a healthy and varied hot breakfast that keeps kids coming back every day. When kids walk in Priscilla greets them with a cheery welcome, a huge smile and often a joke that sets the tone for the day.
Exshaw School
  • Wilma Roeterink: Wilma gives all her heart to the staff and students at Exshaw School. She has a positive attitude and is extremely flexible. Wilma loves the students, this is evident in the hard work, hugs, cards and relationships with them.
Medicine Hat High School
  • Auriel Heese: Auriel comes in each morning before school starts to prepare breakfast for the student body. She has an outstanding attitude, fun to work with and treats all students with respect.
Granum School
  • Sherry: Sherry is integral in the breakfast program in Granum School. She is in constant communication with families and staff to ensure that the program is utilized. Without the efforts of Sherry, the breakfast program would be in serious jeopardy.
Tomahawk School
  • Glenda: Glenda B is an Educational Assistant at our school who consistently shows her BIG heart for our students. She wants every student to have a delicious breakfast so that all students can focus on learning. Glenda B is a quiet force of caring.
  • Ashlee: Ashlee willingly gives up her time to ensure that our students have a nutritious and delicious breakfast. Equally important, she serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Josie: Josie takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Josie serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Eden: Eden takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Eden serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Claire: Claire takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Claire serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Jasmine: Jasmine takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Jasmine serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Hailey: Hailey takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Hailey serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Lucy: Lucy takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Lucy serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Sierra: Sierra takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Sierra serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Sophia: Sophia takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Sophia serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Ella: Ella takes her turn weekly organizing and serving breakfast to our whole school population. Ella serves our students with kindness and a welcoming smile that allows all our students to have a great start to their day!
  • Morgan: Ms. Lawrence takes time to help students organize and serve a healthy and delicious breakfast to our school population. Our school is certainly so thankful for Ms. Lawrence and all the ways she supports our students!
St Stephen’s Catholic School
  • Jeanette: Jeanette works hard everyday to make sure ever student who would like to have a breakfast can have one. She is always willing to get food for students who are late making sure they start their day with a full stomach. She is loved by all the students.
  • Kori-Ann: Kori-Ann makes sure every student who comes for a breakfast also gets a warm smile and a “it’s good to see you and have a wonderful day”. Her compassion helps many students feel seen and loved.
  • Charlen: Charlen does a lot of prep work and is always there helping put out food and help clean up. Charlen is quiet but always working in the background and giving all the students a smile.
  • Leah: Leah works so hard to make the breakfast program a success. She cooks, serves, delivers, does the dishes and always has a smile on her face. Leah will always stop and talk to the students and have a laugh with them. Leah is so valuable to our school.
  • Lauraine: Lauraine is a new volunteer who comes a little later in the morning to help with the clean up, prepping for the next day and serving breakfast to any students who may come late. We appreciate all her help.
  • Pembina: Pembina has been incredible. It’s wonderful to have community members in the school interacting with students. They are so dedicated and are wonderful role models. We are grateful for the relationships that have developed with all of them.
École Rocky Elementary School
  • Pat: Pat walks to our school every Thursday morning to help us out. He comes in the snow, rain, wind, and sunshine. He is a very good helper.
  • Glen: Glen always comes with a smile on his face. His worker brings him to our school twice a week. Glen knows the routine of the program as is very good at following it.
  • Chantel: Chantel walks to our school to help us every Tuesday morning. She is very good at making the kids smile in the morning and is a very good helper.
École Rocky Elementary School
  • Norma: Ms. Denney is a strong supporter of the breakfast program. Ms. Denney treats all students with kindness and respect. All students feel welcome in the breakfast program and look forward to receiving breakfast from her.
École Rocky Elementary School
  • Norma: Ms. Denney is a strong supporter of the breakfast program. Ms. Denney treats all students with kindness and respect. All students feel welcome in the breakfast program and look forward to receiving breakfast from her.

British Columbia

Morley Elementary Burnaby 
  • Marianne: Marianne ensures that the program runs. She purchases the groceries for the program and gets it started. She is passionate about ensuring that it runs daily, and she advocates for its needs. Without Marianne, this program would not run as it has.
  • Marion: Marion is a passionate volunteer. She supports the Breakfast Program daily, working with our high school volunteers, and loves getting to know the children in the program better. She is a caring adult and students feel very safe and loved around her!
Seabird Island Community School
  • Deanna: I would like to nominate our Elementary School Cook, Deanna. She has worked with us for 26, has a very caring attitude, she cares deeply about serving our students a healthy breakfast each morning. Our students and staff all love her very much.
Esk’etemc First Nation 549913
  • Maria Paul: Maria always smiles and treats all students and staff with grace, empathy, and respect. Seeing her first thing in the morning always provides a great start for our students at the school.

Manitoba

École Beausejour Early Years School
  • Trudy Wiebe: Trudy picks up our grocery items from the city every week. This is on average 70-80kms away from our school. If Trudy did not pick up our items we would be going several weeks without in our school.
Wapanohk Community School
  • Sarah: Sarah has created a streamline program for breakfast. She searches for the best prices and make sure the students have 3 healthy choices. She makes it a great program. We have gotten community donations for the breakfast program with Sarah’s help.
  • Charlotte: Charlotte is a retiree whose grandchildren go to our school. She rarely misses a morning to help with the breakfast preparation. She always has a smile on her face. Others enjoy working with her.
Nelson McIntyre Collegiate
  • Mercy: Through thick and thin Mercy has been irreplaceable to this Club and it would be in the gravest error not to recognize her efforts.
Portage Collegiate Institute
  • Barb: Barb goes above an beyond to order supplies for our breakfast program.
  • Nicole: Nicole goes above and beyond to make the students feel welcomed at our breakfast program.
  • Darren: Darren goes above and beyond to make the students feel welcomed at our breakfast program
  • Kaitlyn: Kaitlyn goes above and beyond to make the students feel welcomed at our breakfast program.
  • Janey:Janey goes above and beyond to make the students feel welcomed at our breakfast program.
Many Faces Education Centre
  • Kayla: Kayla consistently provides nutritious breakfasts for the school daily with enthusiasm and kindness. Kayla always provides healthy meals and is creative at helping us get the nutrients we need. We couldn’t offer this amazing program without Kayla!
North Memorial School
  • Darla: Darla is a critical member to North Memorial School’s Breakfast & Snack program. Darla goes above and beyond when sharing her time and talent with our school community. Thank you, Darla, for your unwavering support to NMS students.
  • Kim: Kim is the coordinator of North Memorial School’s breakfast & snack programs. The programs runs smoothly because of Kim’s exceptional organization and positive attitude toward servicing the students. Thank you for all your organization, Kim!
  • Daisy: Daisy is a Grade 6 student at North Memorial School. She was the first Grade 6 student to assist with the breakfast & snack programs. Thank you, Daisy, for your leadership in the nutrition program at NMS!
  • Leah: The McCains staff are such a pleasure to work with as they are knowledgeable, upbeat, and friendly. Thank you, Leah & McCains staff, for your positive contribution to the NMS community!
  • Alana: Alana is the receiver of the order of groceries for the breakfast and snack programs at North Memorial School. Thank you, Alana, for your support in the NMS breakfast & snack programs!
  • Dave: Dave supplies all the milk for North Memorial School’s entire population’s breakfast & snack programs. Thank you, Dave, for your contributions to the NMS breakfasts & snack programs!
ONR School
  • Marlene Bob Ross: Marlene helps the breakfast program by making sure foods are distributed. If anything is needed – she does let me know – so I can order for the following week. She is definitely a impact in our breakfast program.
  • Burton Ross: Burton goes out of his way to help sure the students have breakfast. They work as a team. Even though they have other duties – they make sure foods are distributed.
  • Arnold Ross: Arnold helps with the breakfast program. He makes sure food is ready to go. If one of the team members is missing. A valuable source to have on the team. Good job!
Mikisew High School
  • Neena: Neena is very enthusiastic and committed of making breakfast for the school. She wakes up early and is at the school by 6:30am. She cooks healthy and nutritious meals.

New Brunswick

John Caldwell School
  • Marco: Marco loves to know that students have a healthy breakfast to start their day. He takes so much pride in the presentation. Marco does this program because he cares about students. A huge shout out to Marco for all that he does!
Centennial School
  • Ellen Sargent: Ellen volunteers her time weekly to come in and prepare breakfast items. She is dedicated, and very reliable. Our students love to stop and chat with her, see what she’s cooking and tell her how good things smell. Ellen is an asset to our program.
  • Katie Hazen McKay chapter IODE: The Katie Hazen McKay chapter of the IODE have been long time supporters of our school, and in particular our nutritional programming. We are so thankful for all the dedication shown to Centennial School from the Katie Hazen McKay chapter of the IODE

Saskatchewan

Vincent Massey Community School
  • Joe Callahan: Joe and his wife Nancy have such an incredible love for children and want to see them have a healthy meal. They go above and beyond to make a connection with the kids. They are extremely reliable and I never have to worry if they are going to show up.
  • Nancy Callahan: Joe and his wife Nancy have such a incredible love for children and want to see them have a healthy meal. They both have such a passion to make sure kids never go hungry and the food they are getting is a healthy option.
Humboldt Collegiate Institute
  • Yvonne: Yvonne is a teacher that selflessly provides food for our students every single day and has done so for years. Yvonne never asks for praise or recognition but is certainly deserving of any accolade she may receive.
Albert Community School
  • Shari: Shari is a food champion for all students at Albert Community School. Her budgeting efforts are amazing. She is organized, an amazing cook and has the most positive attitude. Shari makes Albert School a great place to be!
Jack Kemp Community School
  • Kendra: Kendra is a tireless volunteer who organizes, orders and preps food and serves our students daily. She contributes not only her time and energy but also her smile and encouragement to all of our students.
Weldon School
  • Ryan: Ryan comes after he’s worked a 12-hour shift and serves breakfast for the kids with a smile on his face. He consistently volunteers his time each month and is so appreciated.
  • Tom: Tom and Larry come to our breakfast program every month and enjoy getting out in the community and serving the kid’s breakfast. They’ve been great for our program.
  • Larry: Larry comes to serve breakfast with Tom and it’s great that they continually come every month to help us out with our program.
  • Jodi: Jodi is able to help usually more than once a month and she is a great addition to our volunteer group. She comes with a smile and positive attitude and makes the room shine around her.
  • Donna: Donna has helped quite a bit in the last few years. It’s always nice to have the extra help.
  • Laurie: Laurie has been helping this whole school year. Once a month her and two girlfriends get together and do a warm breakfast for the school and it’s so appreciated.
  • Judy: Judy comes and serves breakfast once a month with her two girlfriends. She always has a fresh smile for everyone and her help is appreciated!
  • Donna: Donna volunteers once a month with her two girlfriends. They make warm meals for the kids that everyone loves! Donna is valued in our breakfast program!
  • Tanner: Tanner has just started volunteering with Ryan recently. He comes after his midnight shifts and serves breakfast, then off to bed. We think his dedication is admirable.
  • Kathy: Kathy has long been helping the breakfast program. She volunteers multiple times a month where needed. It’s wonderful to have her experience in our kitchen!
  • Braden: Braden has a history of helping out in the community and we love that he’s chosen to help our school as well.
Connaught Community School
  • Dale: Dale comes in consistently everyday! He is a very hard worker. His help is very much appreciated, and he appreciates the opportunity to volunteer with us! The students love him!
Coronation Park Community School
  • Bonnie: Bonnie goes above and beyond to ensure the children have a healthy and filling breakfast. She comes up with very creative ideas. I nominate Bonnie as a Breakfast Champion as she is always a champion at Coronation Park School.
Westview Public School
  • Deedre Tysiaczny, Sandie Kennedy, Kandis Larson and Sara Gryba:We appreciate everything that Ms. Dee does to ensure Westview kiddos start their day off with a filling, nutritious breakfast. From all of us Ms. Dee, BIG THANKS for all that you do!
Children's hands

 

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.

group photo - breakfast program volunteers

 

This past October, our Club coordinators visited one of our recently opened programs for the first time. Annieville Elementary School in Delta, BC — the traditional territory of the Tsawwassen and Musqueam First Nations — started its program with Breakfast Club of Canada in fall of 2020.

 

Fast forward to a year later, and the program is now a well-oiled machine, involving school staff and local businesses to offer some morning cheer every school day.

Volunteer serving breakfast

Each morning, youth worker Sara Glennon and education assistant Christine Mitzel pack individual breakfasts in reusable bento boxes, purchased last year with the Club’s equipment grant. Breakfasts are planned out in advance each week by Sara, who orders groceries online and picks them up every Monday.

 

The program makes sure no students are left out, including those requiring a gluten- or gelatin-free meal. Food is prepared in a separate area and served in different coloured boxes and serving trays to ensure there is no cross-contamination. Currently, breakfasts are delivered to classrooms, with teachers communicating the number of meals needed to make planning a breeze and ensure there is minimal waste.

Volunteer serving breakfast

Collaboration is essential, according to principal Jann Kwasnicki, whose goal is to see this program run independently, regardless of who may be leading the school administration in the future. Once it is safe to do so, the team plans to use the multi-purpose room attached to the kitchen as the breakfast room, where they are hoping to make the atmosphere homelike and comfortable for students to enjoy a warm meal together, socialize and start their day off right.

 

This school year, Annieville Elementary has enlisted the support of the local Walmart, which has generously donated coolers to keep food cold before serving and has raised funds for the school. The Rotary Club of Tsawwassen also supports Annieville Elementary with their Starfish Backpack program, and local firefighters chip in with monthly snack food donations.

 

Thanks to the collective efforts of school staff and the local community, the students of Annieville Elementary can enjoy a nutritious and delicious breakfast each day.

lindsey, Justin and Geneviève in breakfast programs

 

Recently, two breakfast programs welcomed special visitors. At Maillard Middle School in Coquitlam, BC, professional athletes and BCC ambassadors Lindsey Butterworth and Justin Kent served up breakfast to students. In Montreal, QC, chef and entrepreneur Geneviève Everell had the chance to visit a new program at Evangeline School.

 

Be sure to read our blog article to discover what happened and see the videos of their visits!

 

Maillard Middle School

Maillard Middle School has been a part of Breakfast Club of Canada since 2013, and youth worker Lisa Haines has been running the program for the last five years.

 

Like other coordinators, Lisa has had to adjust her service during the pandemic, changing it from a drop-in, sit-down breakfast in the cafeteria to a grab & go–style program. The excellent quality of her breakfasts hasn’t changed, however. Her students’ favourites are the fresh vegetable sandwich, filled with hummus, spinach, cucumbers, bell peppers and cheese, and the banana oat pancakes. Her secret is soaking the oats in milk overnight for a heartier texture, and the bananas are sweet enough that syrup is not needed at all. If there are any leftovers, students are welcome to grab a bag for a snack or for lunch.

AmbassadorsServingBreakfast

Lindsey and Justin had a great time visiting Maillard Middle School and connecting with some of the breakfast program’s enthusiastic regulars.

 

As ambassadors, Lindsey and Justin want to contribute to fundraising and promoting BCC’s values to provide youth with healthy nutritional opportunities and education.

 

“I have a passion for health promotion and a keen interest in advocating healthy behaviour through proper nutrition in youth. Learning about food security in my undergraduate degree and volunteering with the breakfast program at my local community centre really instilled the importance of access to a healthy breakfast in me. I want to continue to promote and increase accessibility to breakfast programs across the country with Breakfast Club of Canada.” Lindsey Butterworth

 

“I believe in the importance of equal opportunity for youth to have access to proper nutrition. Growing up in Surrey, British Columbia, an inner-city school system, I witnessed the positive impact of a breakfast program. I hope I can make a difference so that youth are properly fuelled to achieve their goals. No one should chase their dreams on an empty stomach.” Justin Kent

 

Watch this video to find out their reason for teaming up with us and why they believe in school breakfast programs.


Évangeline School

Located in the north end of Montreal, Évangeline School is home to over 800 senior high school students from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. In addition to mainstream classes, the school also offers specialized and vocational preparation programs for students with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

 

Starting in fall 2021, Samia Abbassa, a school staff member and the breakfast program site coordinator, has been there every morning to greet students from the regular program who begin to pour in at 7:30 a.m. She sets up in the cafeteria and serves breakfast to anyone who wants it. While she is catering to them, she is also preparing bins for the students in the ASD classes, who prefer to have breakfast in their own classroom, where any sensory issues are easier to cope with.

 

Every morning, a student from each of the ASD classes is tasked with picking up the breakfast food bin and later returning any leftovers to Samia, along with the reusable utensils to be washed. This kind of involvement in the breakfast program can represent a big step in developing students’ sense of responsibility. The benefits of the breakfast program are therefore twofold: it is an excellent source of nutrition and a solution for working through unique challenges.

Geneviève Everell in a breakfast program

BCC ambassador Geneviève Everell recently went to visit students at Évangeline School, where she rolled up her sleeves to serve up a delicious breakfast to the teens.

 

Entrepreneur, author, franchisor, speaker and former BCC enrollee Geneviève Everell is the wiz behind Sushi à la maison. Hers is a truly remarkable story. The breakfast program she attended at elementary school helped mitigate the food insecurity she experienced at home.

 

“Your organization made such a huge difference in my life. I never thought one day I’d be able to say THANK YOU!” Geneviève Everell 

 

Watch the video here (in French only).

 

At Ste-Thérèse School, located in St-Honoré-de-Shenley (Qc), a teacher had the idea of involving the students of his grade six class in the breakfast club and now they are the ones who manage the entire program for their school! Here is a discussion with the students and Frédéric Leclerc, a teacher who dared and succeeded!

 

What made you step in and take over the coordination of the breakfast program at your school?

Students: Breakfast Club of Canada has been an important part of our school for a long time. We have always had volunteers to make the meals every morning, and some years we had a bunch of people signing up. It’s a true need in our school community. Lots of kids don’t eat breakfast or don’t get the chance to start their day off with something healthy. There are also plenty of students who’d come to school without anything to snack on, and they’d ask for something because they were hungry. With COVID and all the changes it has brought, we barely had anybody volunteering this year. And we didn’t want to take the risk of losing the breakfast program. Something had to be done, and our teacher had the crazy idea that maybe we could take over!

 

What gave you the idea to get the students involved?

Frédéric: I’m a teacher who tries to do things a little differently. I like it when students are really involved in their own learning. I want things to be hands-on and inspired by day-to-day realities, and I want them to make connections with everything they learn. My teaching is based on the deep learning method. We use things that happen in real life to get students engaged in their learning. These are opportunities for them to realize how important some things are. We work on them in the classroom and then turn them into a project. So there was an opportunity there to put the students in charge of the breakfast program, and quite frankly it has been a huge success.

Group photo

What made you agree to get involved?

Students: We wanted to do something good for the school without receiving anything in return. Helping make sure our friends and other students get breakfast in the morning, can try new foods, eat healthy and have access to good snacks… We can a learn a lot from this, and what we learn will stay with us all our lives.

 

What kind of responsibilities do you have?

Students: With the Club, we’ve learned a bunch of new things. We’ve learned how to work together, even with people we weren’t necessarily used to working with. We’ve learned to do a lot more on our own. This project pushes us to try new things and, if worse comes to worst, make mistakes! We’ve also gotten better at public speaking because we have to explain what’s on the menu, how the Club works, announce new things and other stuff every day. The teachers have been surprised by what we’ve accomplished. They didn’t think we could handle it all. Some people go in early to wash the fruit and get the food out we need. They take things out of the freezer for the next day. They also sanitize the work stations, check the fridge temperatures and make sure everything is OK. We have two-student teams assigned to each classroom. We take the food and place it in the bin, and then we hand it out in the classroom. We go back around 9 a.m. and pick up whatever’s left and put it back in the fridge, in the box or in the cupboard. Then we rinse out whatever’s recyclable, and we take it to the recycling bins outside.

We take inventory once a month and fill out an order form for whatever we need and send it to the Club’s coordinator. We also have to phone in our milk order, and when it gets here students make sure we rotate what we have so nothing gets wasted. It’s the same for our big food orders. One team unpacks everything while another checks to make sure all the items are there. Then another team checks the expiry dates and rotates everything. We have to be very careful and follow all the food safety rules. Frédéric showed us how to wash our hands the right way and how they do it in restaurants. Plus, we have a budget to follow, and we have to calculate the taxes and look for sales when we buy groceries. We handle all the money and make sure that the cashier gives us the right change. With all this to take care of, we’ve had to find solutions and ways to make it work. We’ve learned how to manage it and this’ll be totally important later on, in math class and in our everyday life when we’re planning a meal for our friends or a big party or something.

Student doing the dishes

How have the students reacted? Were they into the whole idea from the beginning?

Frédéric: They’ve never been more motivated, and I can use this in the classroom too. If you want to be involved in the breakfast program, you have to do whatever’s expected of you in class. It works out really well. The kids love doing it, and even when I give them other duties, they take them and ask for more! I’m also starting to look at them in a whole new light. Some kids who struggle academically really shine in this project.

 

How have you had a positive impact on your school’s breakfast program?

Students: The program is doing really well, and students are eating a healthy breakfast every morning, and that’s because of us. They all get a snack and they love that. We are introducing them to new foods and we’re giving without expecting to get anything back. We’re helping out and enjoying our own breakfast at school too. We have even had to start placing bigger orders, because the kids at school are eating it all up every morning. The bins come back empty. It’s so cool!

Student serving breakfast

What kind of advice would you give to teachers or program leads to encourage them to get students involved in their breakfast programs?

Frédéric: You just have to jump in with both feet. Don’t overthink it. Once you’re into it, you’ll be able to sidestep the obstacles you run into along the way. You can’t plan for every problem, but the important thing is to stay flexible. For example, if the extra waste the program generates overloads your dumpster, you might want to step up your recycling efforts. You have to be prepared to invest lots of time at the start. A month into it, I can now let them do more on their own. They make mistakes, and that’s only natural. They’re kids, and that’s what kids do. But they learn, and that’s the beauty of it. You also have to be prepared to push a little. Making a change, doing something different, that always shakes things up a little. I’m doing this for the kids, so they can learn and want to come to school, for it to be meaningful to them. Sometimes you can’t let a few negative comments or criticisms stop you.

You have to be bold and think big! And why not?

Most people think of school breakfast programs as a way of making sure students get the nutrition they need to fuel their academic performance.

But what they don’t necessarily consider is all the social perks these programs have for their young members.


In connection with International Friendship Day, we talked to Linzi, who was a breakfast program enrollee when she was younger. She used to eat breakfast at school several times a week, but not because of food insecurity. It was a way for her to make friends and learn more about the culture of her adopted home of Quebec.

Her family came here from China when she was six years old. They moved to the Montreal suburb of LaSalle when she was eight. That’s when she first heard about Breakfast Club of Canada. With both her parents working and two other siblings at home, mornings in her household tended to be hectic. Her family made the decision to sign her up for the breakfast program so she could enjoy a calmer start to the day and have the time to eat a full, wholesome breakfast before the first bell rang.

Linzi and her younger brother

It was there, over breakfast, that Linzi realized that overcoming linguistic barriers and engaging in a conversation with her fellow students wasn’t as difficult as it first seemed.

“With all the food there was to choose from, it created an environment where, even if I didn’t really know very many kids, I could say things like, ‘Oh, is that what you picked?’, ‘And you took that?’ ‘Is that good?’ or ‘I like this one the best.’ It gave us something in common we could talk about.”

One of the benefits of the breakfast program for Linzi was all the friendships that emerged from it, with students at all grade levels.

“I made tons of friends through Breakfast Club of Canada because it had nothing to do with school as such. But I would see some of my classmates there, too. After you have breakfast, you have the energy you need to begin your day, but it also means you feel less rushed.”

Linzi and the other kids would chat over breakfast, regardless of their differing ages or grade levels. They all looked out for one another. The older kids would help the younger ones, for example, by going to get them a utensil they didn’t have. And the more experienced breakfast program enrollees were quick to show the newbies the ropes, she explained.

Linzi and hey younger brother

She has lots of great memories of her time with Breakfast Club of Canada. One that stands out in her mind is an encounter she had with an older student.

“I remember I was finishing up something I really liked, but I was too shy to get up and get seconds. Breakfast was almost over, and the volunteers were starting to clean up. That’s when one of the older kids who hadn’t eaten his said to me, ‘You can have mine if you want.’”

Linzi also has fond recollections of her first school breakfast. She felt a little lost, but she remembers the volunteers who walked her in and made her feel instantly at home.

“They were so nice. They smiled, took the time to talk to me, and said, ‘Hi, how are you today?’ to every child who came in and paid close attention to them. I felt seen. I felt like I mattered. When you show up with a tray and you don’t know a soul, it’s a little scary. It really helped me come out of my shell. It’s this type of experience that definitely shaped my sense of belonging with the Quebec community.”

Linzi and Gallea


Today, Linzi is the co-founder and director of operations at the Gallea art gallery, Canada’s largest online art gallery and exhibition venue. Not only does she work in the operations division, she is also an artist herself. It was important to her to make sure other children can have the same positive experience she did when she was younger. Fun fact, Gallea is also one of the Club’s newest partners.

Breakfast programs influence children’s lives in countless ways. You can learn more about BCC’s impact.

Ginger Moyah, the principal at Grassy Plains School, shares how they have used funding to purchase five grow towers.

Grow towers rely on what is called a hydroponic system that promotes plant growth without soil. It instead uses motorized pumps, water and a nutrient solution to grow herbs, fruits and other types of plants. Each system has numerous units and slots on the sides of the system, where each plant is stored. Check out this interview with Ginger to learn more about how these grow towers supplement their breakfast program:

 

What were the beginnings of the grow towers?

So, we’re still kind of getting our feet under us with it. We ended up getting some funding through our local reserves, as well as our AVID coordinator, and Breakfast Club of Canada gave additional funds. We were able to purchase five grow towers, so that would be one for every one of our classrooms, and right now we’re just trying to figure them all out. One classroom sadly lost their crop to some bugs that came on though.

 

What kind of crops are the kids growing?

We’ve basically just started with the seeds that came with the kit. There is lettuce, arugula, kale, Swiss chard and basil, mostly greens so we can make salads and stuff with the kids. And, oh my goodness, the kids love it.

 

What has the feedback from the students been?

When they go to the kindergarten class, it doesn’t matter when or why there’s one little kindergarten girl who always shouts “MRS. MOYAH, COME LOOK AT THE BABIES!” She brings me over to see how big they’ve grown because they actually grow quite a bit faster than a regular garden. They have more light and nutrients so that’s pretty cool to watch. And all the kids are excited and keep an eye on everything.

 

And now you will be able to grow all year, right, because they’re indoors?

Exactly, which is huge for us too, because we live in quite a cold climate up here. Our growing time is the end of May until the end of August, basically. So much different than our traditional gardens. And for several years, we’ve been trying to garden with a community garden that’s right off our school property. But oftentimes, by the time we get back in September, because it is a community garden, people have already harvested a lot of the crops so the kids go through so much work and then they don’t get to see the rewards. The grow towers have been an amazing alternative to that.

 

How did you come up with the idea?

It was actually inspired from another principal in our district who started it at their school in town. And it was something that I’ve always wanted to do in my house. Growing and gardening has always been something that the school has tried to do but hasn’t had much success with, so we’re hoping this will be something that could be more sustainable during their school months because we don’t have our kids when the plants are actually growing in the ground outside. They don’t get to really see the full growth cycle of the vegetables and plants.

 

We’re you impacted this year by the changes?

Well, we’re just getting going; our plans are to not only supplement our hot lunch program because it would mostly be supplementing it with kale and breakfast smoothies. So, it will most likely benefit the lunch program. If we get production going enough, then we can send some stuff in healthy food boxes to some of our community members or our families in need. We’re hoping that we can have a great impact on our community.

Young Volunteers at BCC

Chelsea Hausler, the program coordinator at Georges P. Vanier School, has set up a legacy hours program where students can volunteer with the school breakfast program to help plan and serve breakfast. As part of the school’s graduation requirements, each student is required to volunteer 25 hours toward an initiative that supports the community. In this interview, Chelsea talks about the impact and value of this new program.

 

At the school, my role is a wellness coach, so I do a couple different things. I promote mental health, physical health, nutrition and community engagement — those are our four pillars. Doing the breakfast program comes under our nutrition mandate and is now a big part of my role.

 

What are legacy hours and how can they be applied? How did you come up with the idea of breakfast program volunteering for legacy hours?

At Georges P. Vanier, legacy hours are a non-negotiable 25 hours from every student before they graduate from high school. There are a variety of ways for them to fulfill this requirement, but the idea is to come up with a project or idea in the community. Some kids have cut grass, for example, or, pre-COVID, helped seniors in the community. Others have raised funds for a cause. It’s something that allows kids to explore what they’re passionate about and give back to the community. So we thought that some kids might be interested in volunteering with the breakfast program. And now we have seven of them who are with me every morning.

 

What has the impact been for the kids and the school? Have the student volunteers given you any direct feedback?

Five of them have said that they want to do it next year, which was really exciting. They said they enjoy it and the time goes by fast, which makes for an easy start to their morning. In terms of the general school feedback, it’s been very good. At first, kids would be hesitant, saying, “Am I allowed to take more than one thing?” Our answer was always the same: “It’s fine. That’s what we’re here for.” It probably took about five days for kids to take a little bit of everything. Right now, we probably have about 90% accessing the food. We have a lot of kids in our school who feel they may not be entitled to it because they have food at home, but because our rural catchment area is so big and the bus leaves so early, they often choose not to eat breakfast before they leave. They roll out of bed, put on their clothes and get on the bus. There are also a fair number of kids who don’t have access to fresh food at home. So now that we have fresh food and fruit available, they’re more likely to fill up on those!

 

What advice would you give other schools trying to streamline student volunteers into their breakfast program?

Encourage them by saying it’s a good place to help the community and show them how all these little pieces come together and have a big result. Some people may think, “But it’s only seven kids.” But without these seven kids, we couldn’t offer what we do. They’re instrumental to our success. And there are some kids who aren’t in the same peer group but are building relationships with one another. In the hallways before class, they now have that ease of communication.

The kids make the breakfast program fun, and it’s nice from a facilitator’s perspective to see them develop their leadership skills. You figure out the dynamics pretty quickly. You think, “Oh, OK, these two will delegate and lead and the other kids will listen.” So it fosters more than food prep education and budgeting, which is great to see.