For the past three years, the SPE (Sturgis, Preeceville and Endeavour) Family Resource Centre and the Sturgis Composite School have run a breakfast program using funding provided by a Child Nutrition Program grant from the Ministry of Education.
“Food For Thought has provided toast, fresh fruit and vegetables each day with the help of many community volunteers, and provided valuable social interaction for all participants. However, given the public health orders in place at this time, it was not possible to implement this program as planned," stated Karolyn Kosheluk, program co-ordinator.
Upon consultation with the school administration and staff, a number of needs and concerns were determined.
There is a need for reusable water bottles for some of the students in the school, as currently there is a high usage, and thus waste, of Styrofoam glasses for drinking water due to the unavailability of the school’s water fountains.
Dean Serdachny of Sturgis and representative of Farmers Business Network made a generous donation that enabled the program to purchase reusable water bottles for all students and staff. It was a partnership between the Family Resource Centre funding from a Child Nutrition Program grant and theschool.
Additionally, there remains the usual need for good quality, nutritious food choices in the school. The school’s canteen and vending machines are not accessible because of health restrictions. There is also no access to microwaves. This has made it difficult to provide much in the way of healthy food options by way of this grant, due to the high likelihood of waste and contamination.
There was also a need to keep this program as simple as possible due to the current staffing/scheduling situation, and a strong desire to keep waste of provided food options to a minimum.
The nutritional needs of the students in Sturgis Composite School need to be met in such as a way as to ensure compliance to all public health restrictions with minimal contact from outside sources.
Supplies will be sourced locally and will help reduce environmental and food waste. The provision of water bottles will have a more lasting impact in the school, however, the juice boxes and granola bars are a temporary substitute for the usual nutritious foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, milk, and cheese that were planned and will hopefully be possible for the next school year.
The support of community-minded people like Dean Serdachny and Farmer’s Business Network is greatly appreciated. This was unexpected but very welcome and will make a positive difference in a year that has been full of challenges for the school students and staff.