Three more elementary schools in Penticton now have breakfast clubs, thanks to the efforts of the local Meals on Wheels group.
Since September, Meals on Wheels has been running breakfast clubs at Queen’s Park, West Bench and Columbia elementary schools, serving breakfast five days a week, totalling more than 2,600 meals.
“We were asked by the school board in the last week of June. We thought they were going to ask us to do one school, but in fact they asked us to do three,” said Judy Jefferies of Meals on Wheels. However, the volunteer-run program is funded by donations, and Jefferies said they are in need of both.
The breakfasts served vary from day to day, including cereal, toast, juice, milk and muffins, but Jefferies said they hope to continue expanding the variety if they can raise more money to help fund the program.
“We are really struggling for volunteers because what I need is three volunteers for each school for each day. Right now, sometimes, we just have one or two,” she said. “Quite a few of our volunteers for Meals on Wheels will go help out at the breakfast club, then they are here for MOW. Talk about dedication.”
More than just a full stomach, a nutritious breakfast sets a child up for a good day of learning. Jefferies said the change was apparent soon after starting the program.
“We’re teaching them to eat healthy and to have breakfast, because a lot of kids don’t eat breakfast. They learn better and they want to attend school,” she said. “Within the first month that we were there, the teachers could notice such a big difference.”
The students are also developing better social skills as they interact with each other and the volunteers at breakfast, learning manners and helping out.
“The kids, so far that I have seen, have a really good rapport with the volunteers,” said Jefferies. “It’s a safe place for them to be, too. Some of the kids, they are interacting with the adults, where before they were sitting back to watch what is going on. I guess they are feeling more comfortable and trusting.”
For more information or to volunteer, contact Meals on Wheels by phone at 250-492-9095.