Food For Thought, the Lanark County Partnership supports nourishment programs for school children and youth.
Community Partners Program
An African proverb says that it takes a whole village to raise a child. And it is this premise, that children are everyone’s responsibility that is the driving force behind the Community Partners Program, which was initiated by Breakfast For Learning, Canadian Living Foundation.
Our partnership was formed in 2001 to address the needs of hungry children in Lanark County. The steering committee is composed of action orientated community leaders including representatives from the following: Upper Canada District School Board; Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario; Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training; Children’s Aid Society; Public Health Unit; Retired Teachers Association; Food Store co-owner and a parent/community volunteer who chairs our committee.
In May of 2004 the Province of Ontario announced that it was increasing the investment in school nutrition programs from 4.5 million to 8.5 million, through the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and regionally designated Lead Agency. Funding is available for schools to purchase food and supplies.
Our primary goals are to:
offer support to implement new programs and maintain existing student nutrition programs;
distribute funding to school nutrition programs;
facilitate sharing of information between student nutrition programs;
promote awareness of student nutrition programs in our communities;
provide resources about the importance of healthy eating and safe food handling;
recognize dedicated individuals who volunteer in student nutrition programs;
develop community partnerships to increase financial support for student nutrition programs.
To learn well, children need to eat well
To give kids a smart start in life, we need to make sure they have healthy breakfast, lunch and snacks. Good nutrition begins at home but continues at school. Many children go to school hungry for a number of reasons: Many parents commute long distances to work and are forced to leave early in the morning, leaving children to prepare their own breakfasts; Some children do not eat breakfast because their parents never do; Some children eat very early, travel a long way on the bus and are ready for a snack before classes start; For some families, there is little food available at home; Every day, there are many children who forget their lunch at home and have no food to sustain them throughout the day.
Any way you slice it… the accomplishments are impressive!
When Food For Thought began our work, we were delighted to find 9 schools providing student nutrition programs. The word spread about the important role and benefits of providing nourishment to students. And, by December 2005 the number of schools offering nourishment grew to 29 sites. Combined there are 35 programs in these schools: 11 breakfast clubs, 2 provide lunch and 22 snack programs.
On an average day 800 appreciative children and youth participate. These programs are created and sustained by over 250 dedicated, creative and resourceful volunteers. Teachers, parents and concerned members of the community make it happen everyday – shopping, cooking, and serving food to students.
Food For Thought granted $22,500 following the October 2005 application deadline. A second grant application took place in February 2006. School principals and/or program coordinators may request financial assistance anytime the need arises.
The REWARDS are ENORMOUS!
School breakfast, lunch and/or snack programs benefit the lives of children; giving them not only the food that their bodies need to thrive and learn, but also an example of caring and kindness that will last a lifetime.