BY V. NG
The food cart in guidance. Photos courtesy of M. Trevisan
Every morning, students can count on Student Services to have a table laid out with breakfast foods, so that students who haven’t had the chance to have the most important meal of the day can stop by to grab something. Naturally, food items do not appear out of thin air, so to learn more about the magic behind the food cart, we interviewed Ms Farrell, the coordinator of the operation.
Who first started the food cart, and why?
The Breakfast Basket program is funded by Halton Food for Thought (HFFT). They are a community group that works with charities, like the United Way, and local businesses, to fund breakfast and lunch programs throughout both Halton School Boards. It is known, both through common sense and studies, that students achieve and engage in learning significantly better if they have breakfast. But unfortunately, for many reasons, some students do not have the opportunity to have breakfast before they come to school. MDHS has a long history of supporting learning by providing breakfast but when we partnered with HFFT, it became even more prolific.
Each year we apply for a grant to get funding to buy food for the Breakfast Basket. We must follow specific nutrition guidelines and we sign a contract.
Part of our role is to also fundraise a minimum of $250.00 to help sustain our program. For the last 4 years, MIB has supported our program by donating $250.00 to us.
When did it first start?
The Breakfast Basket program as supported by HFFT has been running at MDHS for at least 4 years. Before that, there were teachers who volunteered to bring in breakfast items out of room 103.
Who brings in the food and stores it?
We have a food-safe (inspected) storage area with a fridge and shelving. We have teachers who generously do the grocery shopping. This year Mrs. St-Hilaire and Mrs. Ennever Bublick are sharing the shopping. Depending on the complexity of the food program, sites are inspected regularly and food handling certification is required. We have a basket program, as opposed to a daily hot breakfast program, so our food safety needs are quite easy to meet.
Can you briefly describe what day-to-day things are done to keep the operation going?
Day-to-day, we have student and staff volunteers who put out the Breakfast Basket (or cart as most people call it). They come in early to fill up the cart and move it into Student Services. Then someone in Student Services puts it away after period 1. Thanks to Forrest Huggins, Michaela Trevisan, Miss Potocki and Mrs. Nuqui for getting the cart out!
Student volunteer, Forrest Huggins. Photo courtesy of F. Huggins.
What is your role in the program?
My role in all this is way less interesting – I keep the books, clean the fridge and dishes and apply for the money. Each month I have to reconcile the accounts. We also run a lunch program that provides a cafeteria lunch but due to confidentiality, I do not want to get into the details of that program. We have a lot of great things running at MD and it is nice to see some attention given to the students and teachers who really make it happen!
Photo courtesy of M. Trevisan.
Thank you to Ms. Farrell for taking the time to answer our question, and for all of the hard work the teachers and students involved have put in to keep the operation running!
Make sure to show your appreciation next time you stop by the Guidance office, everyone!