By Sharon Weatherall

BEAUSOLEIL FN – Christian Island Elementary School (CIES) children will benefit from two nutritious meals served up at school.

Thanks to donations of two freezers – one filled with meat, and shelves filled with non-perishable food items – an existing ‘daily’ breakfast program has expanded to include hot lunches twice a week.

Nutrition Planner Kathleen Monague, a participant on Season 8 of the APTN show ‘Cooking with the Wolfman’, says the numbers of students attending meals at the school recently has multiplied greatly.

“Our Breakfast Club started with 12 kids and we are now serving 40. Feedback has been very positive. The kids eat it all up until there is none left.

Every morning I do brainteasers with them and the winners are rewarded with snacks and hot chocolate. Kids who like to come and help out are rewarded as well.

“We provide hot lunches on Tuesdays and Thursdays for all students but the service is mainly directed to students with no lunch. The hot meal may consist of stews, chicken soup, mac-and-cheese and other nutritious foods.”

The generous donation of meat and food was made by Erindale Secondary School

(ESS) of Peel District School Board which works together with its local parishes and churches. The connection between the two schools was created two years ago through Christian Island United Church pastoral minister Teresa Burnett-Cole and ESS Principal Susan Turner.

Christian Island principal Angela Johnson says the first year ESS’s High Needs Class Project involved making and selling fleece tie blankets with proceeds going toward CIES literacy resources. Fleece tie blankets are two fleece blankets tied together to make a double thick blanket.  

“The recent donations of two freezers – one filled with meat from a butcher in the Erindale community, and included 12 large shelves to stock the non-perishable food items. There were added extras like hockey equipment, skates, books and coats as well,” said Johnson.

“A Ford Dealership from that area donated trucks to bring the majority of the items over to Christian Island. It was a substantial donation, some of which went to the island food bank and the Adult Education Program on the island.”

Johnson says prior to the starting of the school breakfast program a couple of years ago, staff tried to make do by having muffins and the fruit available to give those students who were hungry in the morning. A nutritious meal in a child’s stomach improves both attention for learning and behaviour in class.