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InfoFacts from Community Development Halton

September 1998


In Celebration of BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING week
September 28 - October 3, 1998


"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:

  • Nourishing food enhances the student's health.
  • Educational material about nutrition helps students to learn and make healthier lifestyle choices.
  • Students are able to experiment with different foods and cultures. This helps to promote and accept multicultural customs and traditions.
  • Reduces tardiness and absenteeism from school.
  • Increases opportunities for social interaction and enhances cooperative skills. This creates a more conducive environment for learning.

 


Here are seven of the most asked Questions and Answers regarding "Food for Thought" Programs.

1. As an adult I do not eat breakfast. Is that why my child doesn't eat breakfast?

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!

2. Aren't children who attend these programs stigmatized?

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.

3. Is school really the place to have a nutrition program?

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.

4. Shouldn't breakfast be eaten at home?

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.

5. Are we providing student nutrition programs just because parents are lazy?

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!

African Proverb

6. Should parents be paying for these programs?

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.

7. How can we be sure that children are learning "good food choices"?

  1. School nutrition programs try to serve nutritional meals and snacks based on the Canadian Food Guide.

  2. Schools are including nutritional information in the monthly school newsletter, not only geared to the child but to the family.

  3. Free nutrition workshops are offered to teachers. At these workshops they receive nutrition education resources that they can use to complement their teaching plan.

  4. 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.


Where are these programs located?

 

Burlington:

  • St. Patrick

  • Holy Rosary

  • King's Road

  • General Brock High School

 

Oakville:

  • Brookdale

  • W.H. Morden

  • Oakwood Public School

 

Milton:

  • E.C. Drury High School (informal program)


New in 1998/99 school year

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.


Some businesses that presently support school nutrition programs in the Halton Region are the following:

  • Longo's

  • Tim Hortons

  • IKEA Burlington

  • The Great Canadian Bagel Company

  • Club Alouette

  • Fortino's (Burlington)

  • Frank's Food Basic (Oakville)

  • Lion's Club

  • I.O.D.E

  • London Telecom

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
(905) 632-1975, (905) 878-0955; Fax: (905) 632-0778; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.