- Vanisha Mistry
School Breakfast Program provides over 10,000+ meals to children in need
Over the past fifteen months, the Ottawa Network for Education provided meals to youth in need despite the changing restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The School Breakfast Program has a tremendous impact on Ottawa’s children and youth. Research confirms that children and youth who eat a healthy breakfast engage more in class, perform better academically, have better attendance, and have fewer behaviour issues. In Ottawa, 90% of principals surveyed by the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) agree that students who participate in the School Breakfast Program appear happier and more engaged in their daily learning and activities.
Like many organizations, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact on the fluidity of the program. Not only did ONFE have to deal with increased costs due to the implementation of new safety protocols and the need for individually packaged foods, they also had to deal with school closures.
“When schools were closed, the question was not will we continue to feed students, but how would we do that. We began delivering kits on March 31st, 2020. Each kit contained shelf-stable items from three food groups, as well as a letter from ONFE, assuring kids and their families that we had not forgotten them, and that we were here to support them through this unprecedented pandemic.” Carolyn Hunter, Director of ONFE’s School Breakfast Program
Despite the many barriers caused by the pandemic, 15,160 School Breakfast Learn-At-Home Kits were delivered, equaling over 303,000 meals delivered to children and youth in need. Additionally, 10,549 meals were served every day that schools were open.
Although the school year has come to an end, the need for donations has not. ONFE continues to deliver food to children and youth in need throughout the summer.
“Thanks to the new and continued support of generous donors and funders along with our education partners, we are committed to delivering programs that meet children and youth where they are. The School Breakfast Program and School Breakfast Learn-At-Home-Kits enable us to fuel kids and ignite learning whether in class or at home.” Heather Norris, President and CEO of ONFE
Kevin Darling, Chair of the Capital Integral Charitable Foundation (CICF), describes why the foundation is such a big champion of the program. “When our board met to decide on a cause to support it was overwhelming in favor of the Breakfast program. Our entire Board attended school in the Ottawa region at some point in their lives and some have had or have children attending these schools. Luckily for us, we did not face the challenge of not having breakfast before school, but as adults, we know this is a reality.”
Over the next three years, CICF is committed to raising a minimum of $225,000 for the School Breakfast program. “One of the most important aspects of our society is the development of our children and it is proven that children that have a healthy breakfast are better prepared for their daily learning and activities, so what better way to support the development of our communities than to invest in the next generation.”
To learn more or to make a donation visit our website.
About Capital Integral Charitable Foundation
Capital Integral Charitable Foundation (CICF) is a local Ottawa charity that was started in 2018, our founders wanted to find a way that the Capital Integral Group of Companies could give back to the community that had given so much to them. Over the next three years, CICF is dedicated to supporting the School Breakfast program and have committed to raising at least $225,000 for the program.
About Ottawa Network For Education The Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) fuels kids and ignites learning, making sure all children in Ottawa have an equal start every day. ONFE is a charitable organization that collaborates with partners from education, business, government, and the community to develop enriching programs for K-12 students. Working with the four public school boards, ONFE supports children and youth in English and French. No other community organization has the same reach and ability to respond and deliver much-needed programs to schools across the region.