It's becoming a reality that every day many kids don't eat breakfast before heading to school. A recent study by Nutrition Insight found that 39% of Canadian students skipped breakfast every single day.
Breakfast is often called 'the most important meal of the day'. You're breaking the fast of the night and need nourishment and energy to get you through the day. So why is it that so many kids are choosing to ignore breakfast when they head to school?
"We noticed there were a number of kids coming to school that were unable to have breakfast due to a variety of reasons," said Cathy Harvey, Principal at Midale Central School, "One, they're on the bus really early in the morning. Two, they just don't have the means to have a nutritious breakfast in the morning due to financial constraints."
Midale Central School has started the Breakfast Program to make sure kids are getting fed in the mornings to help them reach their full potential at school. Each morning it feeds a lot of students and creates a positive environment Harvey says.
"We originally thought there would only be about 80 kids that the program would service, but we have over 100 kids every day coming in for breakfast," she explained. "We welcome them and it's also a good opportunity for them to start their day off with not only a full stomach but also with some conversation and feeling welcomed and loved. They get to talk with their friends and other students and staff. It's had a good impact on the mental health in the building."
The initiative was started by teacher Shelley McKenzie who uses help from a handful of students in grades 10 to 12. The older students show up around 7:45 every morning to serve eggs, sausage, fruit, cheese, cereal and juice on a daily basis.
"As part of the program, we're trying to provide them with some nutritious options. We're really lucky because when the kids come in the morning, we have a number of students who volunteer as part of the program. They're actually receiving some credit as commercial cookers and they come in and cook and they also run our program alongside their teacher," Harvey noted. "So not only do we have kids participating in the benefits of the program eating and such, but we also have students that are taking leadership roles and running the program."
The program has been a huge success so far this year and plans are to keep it going. They do receive funding from Breakfast Club of Canada but are always looking for added support.
"We have a number of community members that come in and support us by baking and grocery shopping and through donations," Harvey said. "The school will take donations as well and then write out tax receipts for that. You can also just swing by Midale Central School and drop off donations that way as well."
Midale's version of the Breakfast Club is hoping kids don't forget about a healthy start to the day.