The beginning of the school year brings the excitement of seeing old friends, meeting new ones and learning the names of new teachers.
Most children happily go off to school carrying their new book bags and lunch boxes filled with the latest gadgets and supplies to start the new school year.
But what are they carrying in their bellies? Statistics show that one in six children in our country go to school hungry. It’s a staggering reality however; there are many reasons why some children go to school without eating breakfast.
In our province, we know some children don’t eat in the mornings because of long bus rides, others won’t or can’t eat in the mornings, they come from busy households and sadly there are some children that do not have food at home.
That is why Kids Eat Smart clubs are so very important. Every day with the help of thousands of volunteers, Kids Eat Smart Foundation serves 22,000 meals to children and youth in grades kindergarten to 12.
We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but research actually backs up this claim. There is a direct correlation between good eating and a child’s ability to concentrate and learn. At Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador, our vision is that every child in the province attends school well nourished and ready to learn.
Currently, we are in 90 per cent of our province’s schools. From Labrador to Twillingate, Port aux Basques and St. John’s, children all have one thing in common and that is they start their school day with access to nutritious food. To ensure children receive nutritious meals, our registered dietitian and regional coordinators help volunteers plan menus based on Canada’s Food Guide and the Newfoundland and Labrador School Food Guidelines.
Principals tell us they observe many benefits from their Kids Eat Smart clubs, including increased attendance rates, improved behavior, and they observe overall positive impacts on their school environments.
There are still some schools that do not have a Kids Eat Smart club. For inquiries on starting a Kids Eat Smart club in a school, please contact Kids Eat Smart Foundation at 722-1996, toll-free at 1-877-1996 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Victoria Crosbie, chairwoman, board of directors
Celina Stoyles, executive director
Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador