Having a good breakfast to start the day is so important for kids.

During this first week of school in Strathmore, the School Fuel program is back and looking for volunteers to help the volunteer-based program, help kids get a good start for a day full of learning.

Brandi Bobee, co-ordinator for School Fuel at Hope Community Covenant Church explained that the program is run at public elementary schools, and Crowther Memorial Junior High School, with the exception of local Catholic schools.

At most schools, volunteers come to Hope Community Covenant Church the day before to pick up their supplies like muffins, apples and cheese.

“Then on the morning of school, you would go to the school. You would separate your muffins, apples and you cut up the apples and the eight pieces and separate everything into little baggies. You put them into little baskets that the school has designated for each class, and then the leadership students or the teachers come and get the baskets and take them to the classrooms.”

Bobee says School Fuel is completely run by volunteers.

Individuals can also volunteer on baking nights, where sometimes they can bake up to 2,500 muffins on a large bake night.

When asked why the program is so important right now, she said “There just seems to be a huge need. We are feeding approximately 250 kids a day. It can be for a variety of reasons. Maybe their parents can't afford to feed them breakfast. Maybe they got up too late for breakfast. Maybe they got up really early and went to a day home, or they've been on a bus for an hour,” she said.

“It's not a social program. You don't have to qualify for it, any kid who wants it is able to have it,” she said. In the past School Fuel has been funded through community donations, this year they have received funding from the Breakfast Club of Canada.

Jill McDonald, Associate Principal for George Freeman School spoke about how important it is for kids to have a healthy breakfast in the morning.

“It's super important for students to have access to healthy meals, especially for breakfast so that they are ready to learn, that they are thinking about school, not thinking about their hungry empty tummy."

"No matter why a kid is coming to school without breakfast, we're really thankful to the School Fuel program to be able to provide that for our students,” she said.

At George Freeman School it doesn’t matter why the student is taking part in the program, students self-identify if they need something in the morning, they go to the school’s canteen and grab something for breakfast, and head to class. An example of the food offered is apple slices, cheese, and muffins.

Bobee says, “It's just it's so important for the kids to have breakfast. So many teachers have told us it's made a huge difference for so many kids that don't necessarily get it in the morning.”

“We just want any kid who wants it to be able to have it, and as long as we can help, that's what we want to do,” she said.

For more information and to sign up to volunteer for School Fuel, email schoolfuel@hope-community.ca, or call the church at 403-934-2424.