"The goal of our Breakfast Program is to ensure that no one starts the day hungry, because learning does not happen successfully if students are distracted. Sometimes students have breakfast, and then face a long bus ride; sometimes they are in a rush; sometimes they have an early morning practice. No matter the reason, we want all of our students to have access to a healthy meal in the morning," said Leslea Hanson, Preeceville School vice-principal and new member of the Breakfast Cafe committee.
Preeceville’s Breakfast Café began five-and-a-half years ago to provide free, nutritious breakfast items within a welcoming atmosphere. "We consistently see three dozen students (of a staff/student population of 280) each day for a continental-style breakfast. Our numbers are at least double when we serve a hot breakfast,” states Heidi Paterson, one of the founding members of the program.
Like most committees, this one is run by volunteers. Rachael Kashuba volunteers as the food mentor, planning the meal menus and making sure supplies are stocked. Donna Hamilton, senior math teacher, keeps track of the financials, while Ally Rock, Grade 3 teacher, organizes the volunteers. Amanda Balyski serves as a School Community Council representative. "We have a number of community volunteers who regularly help out to serve breakfast in the morning and welcome the students," said Ally Rock.
The Breakfast Cafe committee is funded entirely by the generosity of sponsors as well as grants.
"Sustaining our breakfast program is always a concern. It costs approximately $6,000 to run the Breakfast Café each year," said Paterson. "So far this year, we have received donations from the SRC and Crossroads Credit Union."
She said the committee is inquiring into corporate sponsorship as well as applying for grants and bursaries.
On October 25, the school is also hosting a pancake breakfast to end its Education Week activities.
“The proceeds from this breakfast will help fund the Breakfast Cafe program, paying forward more meals for students,” Hanson says. “Everyone is welcome.”