Nutritious start to the day
Emmanuel Salembier was ecstatic as he placed two red apples in a couple of large blue plastic bowls at École Elda-Rouleau in Alexandria on Thursday morning. The affable Grade 2 student triumphantly raised his fists in the air and yelled like he had just scored a goal in the Stanley Cup finals.
Emmanuel is one of several students in the school’s special education class. Every morning, they put together healthy breakfast bowls – fruit, yogurt, cheese, bagels – and distribute them among the classrooms.
According to Jennifer Cuillerier, Student Nutrition Program Manager for the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education & Training, it’s all part and parcel of encouraging kids to eat healthy.
The nutrition program is made possible through a partnership between government sources and private enterprise. Mrs. Cuillerier says a portion of the funding comes from the provincial Ministry of Children and Youth, though it also receives funds from the United Way, grocery foundations and other breakfast programs.
She says the program tries to use local food producers like Lanthier Bread and St. Albert Cheese as well as broader organizations like Egg Farmers of Ontario.
Thursday morning was a little different from other mornings at Elda-Rouleau because the school had invited a number of dignitaries, including North Glengarry Mayor Jamie MacDonald and Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Françis Drouin, to see how the program works.
While Mr. Drouin was quick to acknowledge that the program doesn’t benefit from federal funding, he said he appreciated knowing that a lot of the food being consumed came from local producers. It isn’t just EldaRouleau benefiting either. Mrs. Cuillerier says there are 247 such programs that serve more than 46,000 kids a day.