04 Dec How I’m Using My Flextime to Help 200 Children
The QEES Breakfast Program was started about 4 years ago by the Home & School Association based on feedback from the staff at the school that there were a lot of children coming to school without a lunch or who were starting the day off feeling hungry.
We live in a small community of about 2,000 people in the surrounding area. Many parents have jobs that start early in the morning or some simply can not afford to feed their children a healthy breakfast every morning.
Anji McIver led the project, she is a parent and local business owner, and she took it upon herself to organize a budget, do some research and start asking for donations and volunteers. Before we knew it, the program became a full-time initiative that is 100% funded and run by volunteers. People & groups in the community donate money specifically for the program, and volunteers sign-up to prepare and serve the food daily. The school allowed for an early bell to ring that gives the children 10 minutes in the morning to go get some food before classes start.
In 2019, the program currently feeds between 150 and 200 students per day. The breakfast consists of eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit, hard cheese, and jam or cheese sandwiches. I started volunteering last year when I joined Nubik because I finally had the flex-time to be able to go to school at 8 am and start my workday at 9 am every second Tuesday. My husband and I buy the groceries for the program too, because my husband is really good at shopping for deals and is able to stretch the budget.
Why do I do it? The simple answer is because I can. I am fortunate enough to have flexibility in my work and I live close to the school. I know that many of the children eating there appreciate the healthy food and for some of them it makes a real difference in their nutrition and ability to learn. I also know that children that aren’t worried about eating, can focus on learning better. Anything we can do to help children learn creates a better future for everyone.
The end result, is that we have a thriving school community. Our teachers appreciate the support, our parents feel less stressed or worried about their children, and all children feel included. The program is open to every child that wants to go eat something. We do not exclude anyone and everyone has an equal opportunity to learn.
There are so many ways people can give to make the world a better place. People always think it has to be money, but it can be as simple as 1 hour of your day.
Our school is Queen Elizabeth Elementary School in Kensington, PEI.
By Courtnay Woods, Consultant, Accounting Implementation @ Nubik