A brekkie bonus

Three area schools suc­cess­fully launch new break­fast pro­grams


By 8:15 on Wed­nes­day morn­ing, the cafe­te­ria at All Hal­lows Ele­men­tary in North River is al­ready a bee­hive of ac­tiv­ity.

A host of vol­un­teer par­ents and grand­par­ents are milling about, chat­ting cor­dially with teach­ers and other staff. They’re pre­par­ing for the ar­rival of about 300 stu­dents on the buses in 15 min­utes’ time. All of them will be hun­gry, more or less.

Prob­a­bly all of them have al­ready eaten at home, but that won’t stop them from dig­ging into the healthy food choices laid out be­fore them — ce­re­als and milk and cheese and fruit and juice.

The invit­ing smell of toast-in-the-mak­ing per­vades the room. Soon, the ta­bles are loaded down with food and, within min­utes, the at­mos­phere will be abuzz with young stu­dents mak­ing their choices, jostling each other and chat­ter­ing.

Break­fast is about to be served, and All Hal­lows prin­ci­pal Kevin Giles is all smiles.

He has made it his per­sonal mis­sion to “push healthy, ac­tive liv­ing.”

Since the start of the school year, 10 new Kids Eat Smart Clubs have been started in the prov­ince, with three of them — All Hal­lows; Per­salvic Ele­men­tary in Vic­to­ria; and Perl­win Ele­men­tary in Win­ter­ton — in the Trin­i­tyCon­cep­tion re­gion.

“ We are pleased to have so many new KES Clubs al­ready in this school year,” says Daphne LeDrew, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Kids Eat Smart Foun­da­tion.

There are some 425 stu­dents at All Hal­lows, where a break­fast pro­gram was launched some years back, but grad­u­ally faded.

But it’s back stronger than ever, and grow­ing steadily, says Giles. Break­fast is now served three days-a-week, and there are plans to ex­pand it to a full week.

Giles is es­pe­cially pleased by what he calls the “dory load of vol­un­teers” who sup­port the pro­gram, and says the feed­back has been en­cour­ag­ing.

At Per­salvic, prin­ci­pal By­ron King said the break­fast pro­gram is “go­ing over re­ally well.” There are some 275 stu­dents in the Kinder­garten to Grade 9 school.

Four ta­bles are set up in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions each morn­ing at Per­salvic, con­tain­ing a va­ri­ety of nu­tri­tious foods such as fruit, yo­gurt tubes and juice boxes. The pro­gram is es­pe­cially taste­ful to those stu­dents who have to travel 40 min­utes from Turk’s Cove.

King points out the ob­ject of the pro­gram “is not to fill stu­dents up, but to pro­vide them with a nu­tri­tious snack in prepa­ra­tion for morn­ing re­cess.”

King also ex­presses ap­pre­ci­a­tion to those or­ga­ni­za­tions that make fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions to the break­fast pro­gram. The foun­da­tion matches such do­na­tions dol­lar-for-dol­lar.

“ We’re grow­ing the pro­gram with more and more peo­ple be­ing in­volved,” he says.

Perl­win Ele­men­tary prin­ci­pal David Pen­ney, with 89 stu­dents un­der his charge, calls the pro­gram “ex­cel­lent and won­der­ful.”

The pro­gram be­gan Jan. 10, and runs five days-a-week. The “grab and go” break­fasts in­cludes ce­real bars, yo­gurt bars and tubes, fresh fruit, cheese sticks, ce­real, and ap­ple and orange juice.

The pro­gram is in­tended for any and all stu­dents who wish to ben­e­fit from it, and Har­ris said the chil­dren en­joy both the healthy and so­cial as­pects of the pro­gram. Sup­port from church groups have been ex­cel­lent, she says.

Like other schools, Perl­win is hop­ing to ex­pand the pro­gram in the fu­ture.

Kids Eat Smart Foun­da­tion New­found­land and Labrador is a reg­is­tered char­ity that sup­ports ed­u­ca­tion, health and well-be­ing of school-aged chil­dren through qual­ity nutrition pro­grams.

The foun­da­tion has es­tab­lished over 200 break­fast, lunch and snack clubs through­out the prov­ince, which are avail­able to more than 52,000 chil­dren on any given school day. The foun­da­tion is sup­ported by the pro­vin­cial govern­ment, as well as cor­po­rate part­ners and donors.

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