On September 14, 2022, Duke of Marlborough School welcomed two Breakfast Club of Canada staff members and more than 20 other guests on a learning trip led by the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative to get a better idea of how the school’s breakfast program works.
Duke of Marlborough School is located in Churchill, Manitoba, a community of about 1,000 people. The school attempts to offset the food insecurity challenges that come with living in the North by providing breakfast to its students. A thank-you wall in the hallway has been created to thank all the funding partners that have provided support to the program. The students are currently working on making the wall even more visually appealing and adding 3D elements.
Claire Gould, the site coordinator in charge of the breakfast program, spent the afternoon with the guests, enthusiastically explaining that breakfast is open to all students, every morning. She said she has been organizing breakfast at the school for many years, emphasis on “many.” In a community where access to healthy, affordable food is tough, the program has proved to be very beneficial to those who attend. The school also takes pride in building character and instilling virtues that are vital to forging strong relationships and promoting a safe school environment, as the posters below show.
The school serves fruit (apples, pears or grapes, depending on availability), cereal, crackers and yogurt to students to enjoy in their classroom before the bell rings. Volunteer support in recent years has been overwhelming. After one local organization offered to cook a hot breakfast for the kids and was celebrated for it in the community, more and more offers rolled in from different groups and organizations who wanted to help. What an incredible culture of community and volunteer engagement has emerged to support these kids in the best of ways!
Claire mentioned that their four dishwashers in the home ec room have transformed their breakfast system. Students are asked to do their part by placing their dirty dishes into the dishwashers after breakfast. A volunteer then checks to ensure they’re all loaded correctly. Once the dishes are clean, they are put away for use the following school day. As a result, everyone involved has a sense of responsibility and ownership.
Claire still feels there’s so much more she could do. But considering all the difficulties the community faces in terms of food access, the fact that she’s getting a variety of delicious, nutritious foods into kids’ bellies every day is already more than enough!
Thank you, Claire, and thank you to all the teachers and volunteers out there who do so much for these kids.
Read more stories about breakfast programs here.