School Fuel, the free breakfast program for students in Strathmore, is preparing for another busy school year to make sure our kids get their day started right.
School Fuel Coordinator Brandi Bobee explained the entire program runs on dedicated volunteers, and any help is always greatly appreciated.
"We have everything from delivering breakfasts to the schools, serving in the morning, muffin baking, bin washing, grocery shopping, there's lots of ways people can get involved," she said, regarding how volunteers can get involved.
The importance of a breakfast can't be underestimated, as Bobee says starting your school day without feeling hungry can have a huge impact on a student's learning.
"Kids need food in their belly to learn properly. They learn better, they can concentrate better... Some of these kids, it might be the only real meal they get in a day, some kids are just hungry when they get to school, but it just helps them concentrate and focus better at school."
With living costs continuing to rise, Bobee added School Fuel can help alleviate some anxiety a student may feel, as knowing there's a breakfast ready for you is one less thing you have to worry about.
"Food security is really important too, just for kids knowing that there's food there in the morning for them, especially if they don't have food security at home."
Beyond the volunteers, School Fuel also gets support through donations and grants. The Breakfast Club of Canada provides $18 000 for the year, but that unfortunately isn't enough to cover costs, so any other donations from the community play a huge role in allowing School Fuel to provide free breakfasts.
School starts on September 5, and Bobee said that's also when School Fuel will have its first muffin bake. However, the program won't get started right away at some schools, as it may take several days of coordinating before the program is up and running. They partner with most schools in Strathmore, as the Catholic schools aren't involved.
As for food waste, Bobee said some of it can't be avoided, as a student may only eat half a muffin or something like that. For what they can control, she said food waste is minimal. The muffins they bake are frozen so they stay fresh until the day of serving, and the other things like apples and cheese strings can be refrigerated and saved for the next day.
If you're interested in supporting School Fuel by either volunteering or donating, Bobee said you can contact her at email@example.com, or phone Hope Community Covenant Church at 403-934-2424.
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