Community Papers

Feed-U-Cate aims to feed Richmond students

Richmond School Board district administrator Glenn Kishi looks into an empty cupboard, symbolic of the surprisingly high number of students who go to school hungry. He’s hoping a nutrition-for-learning fund will help address the problem.   - Don Fennell photo
Richmond School Board district administrator Glenn Kishi looks into an empty cupboard, symbolic of the surprisingly high number of students who go to school hungry. He’s hoping a nutrition-for-learning fund will help address the problem.
— image credit: Don Fennell photo

After 12 years as district administrator at the Richmond School District, Glenn Kishi is retiring. But as he ties up the loose ends, one of his final projects is establishing a nutrition-for-learning fund.

Feed-U-Cate was inspired by learning of the surprisingly high number of students who go to school hungry, a problem masked in Richmond by a population generally perceived as affluent while in fact there are many residents who are not. After such basic expenses as accommodation they are left with little money for food.

While Kishi says this is a community issue at large, educators realize children struggle to learn on an empty stomach. It’s a situation the school district can’t ignore, he stresses.

“Part of being socially responsible is helping each other, and it’s amazing how much awareness and money we’ve been able to raise in a short period for other projects,” he says.

So far, $2,300 has been raised for the Feed-U-Cate initiative, with Kishi suggesting $15,000 to $20,000 annually would probably cover the cost of operating a district-wide breakfast/lunch program. Currently, about 15 Richmond schools have some sort of breakfast or lunch program.

“We don’t want to recognize these kids because of the stigma, we just want to help them and hopefully they’re not afraid to accept the help,” says Kishi. “With that in mind, the programs are open not to just the kids that are hungry but to all the students. That way it becomes a social thing where everybody is together and nobody really thinks about the kids coming to school hungry. It’s a way to (address the issue) that is pretty discreet.”

A possible partner to Feed-U-Cate could come from the business community, such as through the Richmond Caring Companies program—a joint initiative of Volunteer Richmond Information Services, Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Ashton Service Group.

Ultimately, Kishi is hoping students themselves will oversee Feed-U-Cate, helping to co-ordinate fundraising efforts and facilitating food orders and staffing.

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