School District 19 is beginning it’s second full year of a breakfast program in all of its schools.
To address hunger, social inclusion and improve learning outcomes studies have shown breakfast programs in schools to be a big win.
In Revelstoke, several school Parent Advisory Councils started a breakfast program in their school to support students. The school board recognized the need and success of the program, as well as the strain of a volunteer-run program. By devoting funds and hiring part-time staff to run the program, it can now be offered each school day in all of Revelstoke’s schools.
Volunteers are a key component of this program. Each school needs 1-3 volunteers for an hour each day, adding up to 1,200 hours throughout the school year.
Volunteers are dedicated parents and community members that prepare and serve breakfast foods to the students with differing formats in each school.
One volunteer remarked “it is so fun to see the kids enjoying the foods and connecting with each other – this such a valuable program and I feel great to be a part of it.”
The program models good nutrition, focusing on lean proteins, whole grains and a variety of fruits.
Some students just need a snack after a busy morning, while others enjoy a full meal.
The program is free to all students and is open to any student who wishes to come.
District program coordinator, Melissa Hemphill explains that “there are numerous reasons why students can be hungry in the morning – this is not just about low income families. We don’t bother with why a student may need some food, but are focused instead on ensuring that nutritious options are available to help them get through their school day and realize their potential.”
In addition to the school district’s financial contribution, funding for the program is provided by a number of grant providers such as Columbia Basin Trust, PC Children’s Charity and the Breakfast Club of Canada.
The program also receives a great level of local support from Revelstoke Credit Union, the Community Foundation, local businesses and private donations.
The program is able to utilize some foods from Community Connections’ food recovery program as the foods are consumed so quickly.
Student and adult surveys at the end of the 2018/19 school year showed strong support for the breakfast program, which served over 24,350 breakfasts.
The program is off to a great start for the 2019/20 school year, but more volunteers are still required at each school. Interested parties can contact email@example.com to volunteer with the program.