My daughter attends an elementary school that offers a breakfast program. Or rather, it's supposed to offer a breakfast program, but I'm getting ahead of myself. The school is one of many across the province of Quebec that is a part of the Quebec Breakfast Club. Every morning schools participating in the program offer up hearty breakfasts including scrambled eggs, bagels with cream cheese, waffles, pancakes, yogurt, fresh fruit, etc. Um, not all at once, it's not a buffet. Still, from one day to the next, they rotate a menu and fill up little bellies before the first bell rings.
Last year my daughter signed up and really enjoyed it. For her it's not a necessity, rather it's a convenience. She doesn't enjoy eating right away when she wakes up so it's a bit of a battle to get her to eat her breakfast before getting dressed for school. When she was a part of the breakfast club she would actually be hungry by the time she sat down to eat and our mornings, while not exactly peaceful were at least not quite as full of nagging.
The thing is, though, there are a startling number of kids in my community who actually do need the program. It costs $12 per term or $48 per year and if a family can't quite swing that, there are ways to get some help with the payment. The kids then get a good, solid meal to start off their day five days a week (except for Ped days/holidays of course). For some of these kids, it's the only way they get any breakfast at all. If not for the program, they would start their day off hungry, with nothing in their stomach to help them focus on learning.
Like I said up top, this program is supposed to be offered at our school just like it has been for the past two years. Indeed, there are approximately 75 children signed up, eagerly awaiting the club. Yet the school is not running the breakfast program at this time. The reason for that is there's a shortage of volunteers. They require a certain minimum of volunteers to come in at 6:30 am to cut up fruit, pour juice cups, prepare the breakfast of the day, and then start serving once it opens at 7:05.
In the past I would have been unable to participate because while I can obviously bring my daughter early, I can't bring my youngest too - she would need to stay home and I've had to stay with her. Now my husband's work schedule is such that I actually can go in early in the morning because I'd be done by 8:15 or so and he doesn't leave for work before then.
I'm not a morning person. As it is, I get up at 6:30 and drag my butt out of bed loathing the early hour. To volunteer for the breakfast club I'd have to get up at 6 am at the latest. The mere thought of rising at 6 when my inner clock is set at Night Owl... well it makes me want to go lie down and nap right now. But I can't stop thinking of those 75 sign-ups and wondering how many of them actually need this program in order to have some food in the morning. I can't stop thinking about the mother at the PPO (Parent Participation Organization) meeting last week who added that there are some kids who show up - EVERY day - without a lunch, and wondering if the no-lunch kids are also no-breakfast kids, getting through their entire day without a bite to eat.
I'm an emotional person anyway but I fully confess that I teared up hearing about it at the meeting and I'm doing it again just thinking about it. It's one thing when you're an adult and you just don't feel like eating breakfast or you accidentally work through lunch. It's another thing altogether when you're talking about a child who isn't eating simply because the family can't afford enough food to cover all the meals.
Which is why I'm going to fill out and send in the volunteer form. They don't require people to volunteer five days a week, just a day or two is fine. I will never be the type of person who hops out of bed at 6 am for nothing more than the sheer joy of being up and seeing the sun rise. However, I'm pretty sure that even *I* can get up at 6 am one or two mornings a week to make sure that children in my daughter's school aren't going through their day hungry.
If you're a Quebec resident, please take a moment to check out the Breakfast Club website
to see if you can help out too.
This is an original Canada Moms Blog Post. When Sherry isn't trying to save the world one hungry kid at a time, she can be found trying to beat back blogger's block by posting about her life over at Chaos Theory.