"Food for Thought" is a program that has been developed by the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre. Designed to meet the needs of children going to school hungry in the Halton Community! In the past child hunger has been viewed as a poverty issue only.
Today, this is not the case. A significant number of children go to school hungry for reasons other than economic ones such as, work schedules, lack of adult supervision, poor nutritional role models and life styles.
Research has shown us that all children can benefit from a "Food for Thought" program in the following way:
Adults who skip breakfast still have the opportunity to grab something on the way to work or during a coffee break. If a child misses breakfast, their next opportunity is lunch!
These programs are open to all, they are not limited to "poor kids." If they were, then those students would be stigmatized. Whatever the reason for missing breakfast, it will have the same negative effect on a child's ability to learn.
Yes! When programs are community- based and in a school setting, they have the highest success rate because they are accessible to all. Schools are sensible locations because that is where the children are. Also, eating breakfast or a snack sets the stage for the readiness for learning.
Parents in the nineties are faced with major changes, tough economic times, and a competitive labour market. These circumstances make it hard to schedule regular meal hours.
No! These programs are not taking away from the responsibility of the parent, but rather working with the parents to ensure that children are well-fed and ready to learn. These programs are offered in a cost-effective way. Students are able to receive "good nutrition" and at the same time good nutrition choices for a healthier life style are reinforced.
IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO RAISE A CHILD!
Yes! Parents feel it is imperative that some type of contribution is made to their school nutrition program. This gives more sense of partnership by the parents in the program. Payment style is very flexible and is usually designed to meet the needs of the school, community and family. Some methods include two dollars a month, loonie a week, donation drop off containers or monthly envelopes sent home. A local high school charges $2.50 a week that allows the students to have three items a day. Programs can compensate by applying to the Canadian Living Foundation or approaching businesses to get involved. IKEA Burlington and London Telecom have become involved by partnering with local schools.
School nutrition programs try to serve nutritional meals and snacks based on the Canadian Food Guide.
Schools are including nutritional information in the monthly school newsletter, not only geared to the child but to the family.
Free nutrition workshops are offered to teachers. At these workshops they receive nutrition education resources that they can use to complement their teaching plan.
Classroom activities and projects can have a nutritional focus.
"It's important to care about someone else's child because to other people, your son or daughter is someone else's child."
John O'Neill, York University, Sociologist
Presently, in Halton there are nine established school nutrition programs; seven are breakfast programs, and two are recess snack programs. These programs not only supply good nutritious food, but social interaction, and an opportunity to interact with volunteers, one to one.
Let's look at some statistics from the Halton Region for the 1997/98 school year.
1,200 children used school nutrition programs
6,000 breakfast/snacks were served in one week
230,000 breakfast/snacks were served during the entire school year.
General Brock High School
Oakwood Public School
E.C. Drury High School (informal program)
We have a number of schools interested in exploring the possibilities of a school nutrition program to meettheirneeds. They include Tecumseh School, Fairfield Public School, E.C. Drury High School, Holy Cross School, and Limehouse School.
The "Food for Thought" program is in partnership with the Halton District School Board, Halton Catholic District School Board, the Halton Regional Health Department, Halton Anti-Poverty Coalition and the Oakville YMCA.
If you or any one you know would be interested in working with our committee, please contact the Halton Social Planning Council and Volunteer Centre.
The Great Canadian Bagel Company
Frank's Food Basic (Oakville)
We apologize if we have missed your name. Please notify us so we may update our list.
If your business would like to get involved please call Community Development Halton @ 632-1975
"Food for Thought" is one of the intergenerational programs that offer avariety of benefits to seniorparticipants. Benefits such as helping reduces loneliness, sharing true life experiences, contributing to our future by working with our youth. These interactions can be seen in a variety of settings i.e.; school nutrition programs, Celebrating Literacy Program; (one-on-one reading programs), knitting programs, mentoring opportunities, Interlink, Grandpals, day care programs and before and after school programs. The opportunities are endless.
WE ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO COME OUT AND SEE THESE PROGRAMS IN PROGRESS
Produced by the Community Development Halton
860 Harrington Court
Burlington, Ontario L7N 3N4