Rather than reading, writing and arithmetic, students at Port Edward Elementary started off the morning of Nov. 19 with pancakes, sausages and fruit cups.
A hot meal was prepared for and served to the entire student population by representatives of TransCanada Corporation and the Breakfast Club of Canada to launch the morning meal program in the school.
“Our overarching goal is that no student should be going to class hungry, so we make sure that kids are having access to healthy, nutritious meals through all four food groups every day. It is much more to us than feeding the belly, it’s teaching kids about healthy eating habits and healthy living, which we believe carries on with them through adulthood,” said Breakfast Club provincial coordinator Robin Ryan.
“One of our tenants is that any student can join. You don’t need to sign up for it, you don’t need to be recommended, everyone has to have full access. You can’t make some students pay and others not, it has to be free for everybody and universally accessible. If a school finds itself with more students than it can handle, we work with them to find funding.”
The program was the first in the Northwest to be launched following a commitment by TransCanada of $20,000 over the next three years for programs in schools in Port Edward, Prince George, Vanderhoof and Terrace. It’s a donation that TransCanada community relations manager Rebecca McElhoes said just makes sense for the company.
“We were looking for an opportunity based on what we were hearing in the community around education. We looked around for organizations that have a role to play in communities along our route and the Breakfast Club of Canada seemed like a natural fit for us,” she said.
“I think it is certainly our responsibility as a company that is coming into a community to try and make a difference in the community we will be living and working in … all of the students in the school will have access to this.”
For principal Deb Taylor, the addition of the program will help contribute to student success.
“It means a lot because a lot of children don’t eat before they come to school. I don’t know if they’re just not hungry at that time, but having something for them here makes sure they get a good start to the day with good food,” she said, noting it will be administered using existing resources as the school looks for community involvement in the program.