Ecole Routhier’s lunch program is drawing praise for providing students with healthy, nutritious meals.
The school works with New Horizon Co-op in Falher to provide lunches daily.
“It’s been an exemplary model for how we roll things out,” says Colin Collett, divisional psychologist for High Prairie School Division and lead for the school’s lunch program.
“We have to rely on community partners and support local business – develop a collaborative relationship with them.”
Collett and several others met with Principal Diane Benoit on Nov. 14 to discuss the school’s lunch program, which is funded under the Nutrition Project of Alberta Education.
The lunch program is in its second year. Principal Diane Benoit and Vice-Principal Melissa Portelance approached Ryan Roy, the division manager for New Horizon Co-op, about providing lunches to the school.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to help the school,” says Roy, adding that he keeps the cost reasonable for them.
Roy helps with the sandwich preparation at the store. Ann Payou, who works at the school, helps with the fruits and vegetables for the lunches, then she distributes them to the students’ lockers. Payou is accredited with the food safe handling course.
Thirty-nine students participate in the lunch program on a voluntary basis. Besides sandwiches, fruits and vegetables, the lunches will also have something like a juice box, yogurt and an orange. Those present at the school on Nov. 14 had a chance to sample the lunches that New Horizon Co-op makes.
Margaret Hartman, deputy superintendent for High Prairie School Division, says the students will come to realize that nutritious meals can be delicious.
Tammy Novak, health promotion coordinator for Alberta Health Services in Peace River, consults with the school on nutrition, which can include in-class presentations and activities for teachers.
Cathy Rasmusson, an education manager with Alberta Education in Edmonton, was also at the school to see how well the lunch program is going.
Following their sampling of the lunches, the attendees went for a tour of the school’s dedicated food storage room, which includes a fridge freezer.