The Situation Room – As new school year begins, make sure students don’t go hungry

Mac Olsen

The new school year begins on Sept. 5, and while it will be a time of excitement for many students to see each other again and catch up, for others it won’t be so rosy because they will have empty stomachs upon arrival. had a report about this issue on Aug. 22. Part of the report discussed a survey conducted by Kellogg Canada, concerning behaviour issues.

“The vast majority of teachers report large differences in a child’s behaviour depending on whether or not they’ve had breakfast. According to the report, 93 per cent of teachers agree that hungry children are more disruptive in class.”

Also according to the report, on average teachers estimated that children who come to school hungry lose up to two hours a day due to lack of productivity.

“That’s one-third of the school day or almost four months in a school year. This equates to more than four years of a child’s school career from Kindergarten to Grade 12.”

Kudos to the schools in the Peace Country that offer breakfast and lunch programs. You’re certainly making a difference in helping your students to learn at their utmost potential.

Over the years, I’ve seen some schools in the Peace Country introduce breakfast programs for their students. Some were developed with assistance from organizations like the Breakfast Club of Canada.

According to their website, nearly one million children in Canada are at risk of getting nothing to eat before they go to school in the morning.

For Aboriginal communities, the ratio is 1:2. In Canada, one in five children are at risk of starting the school day on an empty due to a lack of access to nutritious food. For immigrants and newcomers the risk is 2.5 times high than the general population, their website adds.

Breakfast Club of Canada encourages donating, holding fundraisers, volunteering and partnerships.

You can use your smartphone and text CLUB to 45678 to make a $5 donation.

Corporate donations are also accepted and you can go to for more information.

Here are some other organizations with programs or resources:

. www.
. (Fuel For School).

I remember a news story in B.C. from many years ago, about three boys in elementary school who were interviewed.

They said that they weren’t focussed on learning, but on the meals that their school was providing to them.

That’s the kind of hearbreaking story which no child or family should have to ever tell – or endure.

So, as the new school year begins, let’s do our part to ensure that students don’t arrive at school hungry.

If you can donate, volunteer, hold a fundraiser or become a partner for a school breakfast program, please do so.

Children and needy families require that vital support.

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