Submitted by Kim McKellar
and Nicole Gamble
on behalf of the BPDS Breakfast Club
Covid 19 has had an impact everywhere and Bruce Peninsula District School is no exception. Just as teachers are coming up with inventive ways to work with new structure and guidelines, our Breakfast Club program has had to adapt as well. In previous years, Breakfast Club was offered buffet style in the cafeteria from 8:40am until 8:50am. If buses were delayed it often meant kids would only have a few minutes to grab something from the table. We estimate that approximately 1/3 of elementary students came to Breakfast Club, but even then, not all of them felt comfortable in the big group that would gather. Many kids started their day hungry.
Covid regulations have changed what we are able to offer and the way it is delivered. Protocols dictate that we must use almost entirely pre-packaged food which is distributed by the teacher with no-contact tongs. This year, each class from JK to grade 12 has a food basket that is picked up by each teacher before school starts and remains in the classroom until 2:00pm.
Feedback from teachers has been overwhelmingly positive because kids have time to select an item or two and eat it, and have that option throughout their day. And when volunteers arrive in the afternoon to stock up the baskets for the next day, they’re empty. Teachers report that almost every student is taking some item from the basket every day. More kids are getting the healthy food options they need.
Each nutritious basket includes: apples and oranges, Sunrype 100% fruit leather, marble cheddar cheese, whole wheat crackers or melba toasts, low sugar school safe granola bars, Wowbutter (peanut butter substitute) and bread sticks, Cheerios and Shreddies for our youngest kids and Kool school muffins for Secondary.
This increase in users coupled with the higher cost of pre-packaged foods adds up to a projected budget of nearly $33,000. It is costing us almost $200 per day to pack the bins and while $1,000 per week sounds like a large amount for Breakfast Club, it is less than a dollar a day per student. We receive $7,000 from the Ontario Student Nutrition Program and had $3,000 remaining in our account from last year. We have a projected shortfall of $23,000. To add to the challenge, many of our annual fundraisers cannot run due to Covid restrictions. We need financial assistance.
Since we put out an appeal on Facebook on November 2nd, an amazing $9,300 in donations has come in from individuals and community groups. As well, Hellyer’s Foodland in Lion’s Head is covering the cost of our bill at the store for the month of November. We have applied for a $1,000 Municipal grant and are receiving a portion of a criterion-specific donation to the school. We are so grateful for this support but are still about $10,000 short. Last year many local businesses and community groups generously supported our Salad Bar by sponsoring it by the week or month. Perhaps this year consider sponsoring Breakfast Club. Every donation, big or small helps.
Just as a reminder as we near the end of 2020, you can receive a tax receipt for any donation over $20. The preferred method for donation is by cheque, however we won’t turn down cash! If you would like a tax receipt for your donation please put your donation in an envelope along with the name and address the donation receipt should be issued to on the front. You can mail your donation to: Bruce Peninsula District School P.O. Box 178, 5 Moore Street, Lion’s Head, N0H 1W0. You can also deliver your donation to the school between 9:00am and 2:45pm. Please ring the door bell to the right side of the front doors for assistance.
Thank you for your support of our wonderful community school. During this challenging time we must pull together to protect the most vulnerable in our community, not the least of which is our children. Thank you for your continued support of BPDS.