With the start of the regular school year here, staff and volunteers with School Fuel have been working to get ready to feed potentially hundreds of students on a daily basis.
School Fuel is a school breakfast program that is provided to nearly all schools in Strathmore and area part of the Golden Hills School Division.
The aim is to provide students with a breakfast in order to keep them well-fed and focused on learning during school, rather than being hindered by a lack of food.
“There are a lot of kids who come to school hungry in the morning and there could be a million different reasons for that,” said Brandi Bobee, School Fuel coordinator. “Maybe they do not have food security at home or maybe they have parents who work and can’t get them breakfast in the morning or they get up early or have a long bus ride, or they are just growing and they are hungry when they get to school.”
Bobee explained last year, the School Fuel team was providing roughly 340 breakfasts per day, and concluded the year having served well over 52,000 meals to kids.
Though the team largely does not get feedback from parents, Bobee said teachers at participating schools have commented that there are kids who definitely need the program and appreciate it being available to them.
“Our mandate is that the kids do not have to need it or prove that they need it, or to sign up for it. Each school does their program a little bit differently but definitely, our mandate is that any kid who wants it can have it,” she said. “We usually try to start within the first week of school starting, so we will likely start not the first week of school, but the week after, and we are there right until the end of school.”
School Fuel staff and volunteers bake all the muffins available to students themselves, utilizing the kitchen at the Hope Community Covenant Church, then freezing the muffins until they are to be made available to students.
In addition to that, depending on the school, students will also be offered a piece of apple and either a cheese string or a yogurt tube.
“We could not do this without our volunteers. I think we have pretty close to 50 volunteers between the muffin bakes and the breakfast serving, the bin washers and the grocery shoppers,” said Bobee.
School Fuel also receives support from the Breakfast Club of Canada, which provides the funds for a vast majority of School Fuel’s supplies. What is not covered by the Breakfast Club of Canada is supplemented through donations and fundraisers.
Anyone looking for more information about School Fuel, or who would like to get involved is able to contact Bobee at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Hope Community Covenant Church.
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times