The Quesnel School District (School District 28) has been serving breakfasts at schools for more than eight years.
The program started with a grant from Breakfast Clubs of Canada and the support of the Quesnel Partnership for Student Nutrition, and since then, the program has grown, says Susan MacDonald, School District 28’s Director of Instruction — Curriculum.
”In part, this has to do with the circumstances of our community and vulnerability we see,” MacDonald says in a news release. “The other reason is that our Breakfast Program is universal. We do not single students out and instead invite everyone to the program if they choose. Over the years, we notice that some students attend because they need nutrition and others like the opportunity to connect with their friends or with staff. Our Breakfast Programs serve as a safe place and an important transition to school.”
During the past school year, the School District 28 Breakfast Program served 71,909 breakfasts, an increase of nine per cent from the previous school year, according to MacDonald.
“This means we were serving approximately 414 breakfasts each day,” she said. “This does not include the morning nutrition or snacks provided at schools across the district.”
Every day, Breakfast Club coordinators come to school early and, with help from student or parent volunteers, prepare and serve nutrition for the day. Any leftover food is available to students who need it through the day.
“Providing nutrition to our students fills their stomach and fuels their minds for the day ahead,” said MacDonald. “Our program exists because of our staff and volunteers and because of community support.
“The Student Nutrition FUNdraiser at the Gold Dust Mall on July 20 and 21 initiated by Integris Credit Union demonstrated a true commitment to serve the needs of the community,” continued MacDonald. “Integris, Barkerville Brewing Company and the Occidental invested significant time in organizing and co-ordinating this family event at the Gold Dust Mall. They rallied together volunteers, City Councillors, the Quesnel Ambassadors, business owners, the Fire Chief and members of the Quesnel RCMP detachment. Integris led the event with amazing energy, promoting each activity, acknowledging the volunteers and the goal to feed students. Their enthusiasm and efforts to draw the community’s attention to our Breakfast Program through the two days was impressive.
Our school district staff and students are very appreciative of Integris, Barkerville Brewing, the Occidental and all of the other locals (individuals and businesses) for their part in helping to raise funds for this important initiative! We applaud the staff’s demonstration of genuine community spirit. Our District motto is “Together We Can.” We believe that together, we just did make a difference for students.”
During Billy Barker Days this summer, the Student Nutrition FUNdraiser at the Gold Dust Mall featured a dunk tank and a Rock, Paper, Scissors Ultimate Competition.
“We had a blast working alongside Barkerville Brewing, the Occidental and School District 28 to create this fun family-friendly event benefiting Quesnel’s student nutrition program,” Mel Wilson, Integris Branch Manager in Quesnel, said in the news release. “I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of the people who made the event such as success — notably local RCMP members, Fire Chief [Sylvain] Gauthier, City Councillors, School District Trustees, the Quesnel Ambassadors, Integris staff and of course our Rock, Paper, Scissors Ultimate competitors and winners. You all added so much to the event and the fundraising result! Together, we enhanced the Gold Dust Mall experience, all while striving to enrich lives through innovative community solutions.”
“We couldn’t be more proud to have partnered with Integris Credit Union, the Occidental and School District 28 for this fundraiser raising money for Quesnel’s student nutrition program,” says Justine Pelletier with the Barkerville Brewing Company. “Everyone involved feels so strongly about supporting local programs and local people, and we could see that all weekend long with the volunteers and support we received from the community. We hope this is the first annual event of many to come!”