As kids go back to school amid a fourth COVID-19 wave, organizers and groups are figuring out how to feed them safely.
The Breakfast Club of Canada is one such organization, working with schools to provide meals for kids, regardless of financial limitations.
Program coordinator Julianne Nyasulu says there are about 1,600 programs in Ontario alone, with about 322,000 kids helped out in the past year.
The Club is currently running its Back to School campaign, and looking for donations.
“We obviously have had a lot of schools have to shut down because of the pandemic,” she says. “With social distancing, with cases coming in, with the kids, they’ve had to go remote.”
With kids unable to physically show up for breakfast, schools have had to change tactics.
“A lot of schools have had to dynamically respond, whether that’s switching to a ‘grab-and-go’ model in the classroom or packaging food to send home to the kids that are remote learning,” says Nyasulu. “There’ve been a lot of positive stories that we’ve seen come out of this, but it’s definitely been a struggle for kids who haven’t been able to make it out to school, especially with all of the restrictions and regulations.”
Nyasulu goes on to describe how hunger can impact a child’s future.
“We believe that it affects their emotional well-being and their ability to focus in class,” she says. “If they’re not eating and they’re not focusing in class, we see higher rates of dropout, or difficulties focusing – difficulties succeeding in their exams, maybe even graduating from school. If we’re able to offer them a good breakfast, they have the energy to communicate with other class members. They have the energy to focus in their studies, to complete those studies, to just foster academic success as a whole.”
For more information on the 2021 Back to School campaign, click here.
You can also text ‘CLUB’ to 20222.