Steven Simoneau, Montreal warehouse
manager, helps prepare breakfasts
at a school in LaSalle, Quebec.
in New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. Today, more than 200 schools are on board. “We work with the school, the community and the kids,” explains Lussier. “We show them how to manage and attract volunteers and how to make sure that he self-esteem component is always up front so the kids feel uplifted.” Feeding hope for tomorrow To help break the cycle of poverty among First Nations and aboriginal children, BCC launched special programs this year in 17 of Canada’s most remote regions. Twenty-one breakfast clubs in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia now serve 4,500 students. The menu here includes traditional foods, such as bannock, a pan-fried bread. “Launching these programs was a big challenge; fridges were delivered by boat or by plane,” notes Lussier. “For years, schools didn’t have enough resources, funding or equipment. We provided what’s missing, so they can give something better to their kids.” By June 2011, BCC intends to triple the number of First Nations community pro- grams and reach 10,000 children. This goal comes with a hefty price tag. In addition to an initial investment by BCC of up to $25,000 for appliances and supplies, it costs an average of $60,000 per year to operate a program in a remote aboriginal community. Judith Barry, BCC’s vice-president of operations, notes, “It really does take a village to raise a child. These students don’t have access to all the toys that they’d like, but they have caring parents, dynamic teachers and a united community that shares their wonderful traditional values with them.” Rooted in community BCC’s Ontario program coordinator, Marsha Edwards, feels that BCC isn’t just about making sure kids eat; it’s about building com- munity. At a recent breakfast, she noticed two
siblings, a little boy and an older girl, remain in their seats while classmates went out to play. “Both children live in different foster homes, and they only see each other during the break- fast program. Without it, they would hardly see ach other. I’m happy and sad when I reflect on this, because the program only runs Monday to Friday. I wish we could do more.” C Wendy Helfenbaum is a writer and television producer at www.taketwoproductions.ca. Connecting Schools and non-profit organizations may apply to the BCC program online using the form at www.breakfastclubscan ada.org/ docs/GrantApplication-ENG.PDF. For past articles on Breakfast Clubs of Canada, go to Costco.ca and enter “Connection.” At Online Edition, search “Breakfast Clubs.” ALAIN FOURNIER
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