Alicia Whittaker cuts Heidi Whittaker’s pancakes as Alyssa Whittaker chows down at Hans Helgesen elementary. The school has started a breakfast program after noticing a number of students coming to school hungry.

Hans Helgesen breakfast club hits the spot

Volunteers helping kids start the day healthy and fed

Vice-principal Sue Tonnesen saw a need for the breakfast program at Hans Helgesen elementary, so she decided to start one.

“I noticed a lot of children at school came without a proper breakfast,” Tonnesen said. “With the breakfast program we don’t have hungry kids anymore.”

The school received grants from non-profit organizations to make it possible. ONEXONE Learning Organization provided $11,400 and Breakfast for Learning chipped in $1,500.

After receiving grant money the program was launched in November.

Funds from ONEXONE is a First Nations Food Grant. The application required support from Beecher Bay Chief Russell Chipps.

The money can only be used to purchase food, and all meals must be based on the Canada Food Guide for First Nations and Metis and include all four food groups, Tonnesen said.

“I buy good food. There is no can opener in the kitchen. It’s all fresh,” Tonnesen said.

The program is open to all children of the Hans Helgensen school. Parents are asked to pay $85 a year for their child to attend the program, but parents who can’t afford to pay aren’t required to.

“The program is not for poor kids or rich kids, it’s for everyone,” said parent volunteer Cory Sievert. “This program builds community for the school. The kids eat together like a family. All the kids are happy in the morning.”

Each morning Tonnesen is in the kitchen by 7 a.m. getting breakfast ready with other volunteers. About 10 core people help with the breakfast program.

“It couldn’t run without all my volunteers,” Tonnesen said.

“It’s so much easier now. I just get my kids up and get their backpacks and we leave the house,” said Alicia Whittaker, a parent and volunteer for the program. “It makes life so much easier.”

Children sit down to a hot breakfast that could be pancakes, quiche or even breakfast pizza.

Some children use the program even though they eat breakfast at home. Principal Julia Sahota explained the school buses start picking up students at 7:15 a.m., and by the time the school starts, they are already hungry again.

“They eat first, they eat again and then they are able to function at school,” Sahota said. “Teachers notice that kids with early mornings are doing better.”

Starting a breakfast program has helped improve school attendance and student’s academic achievements, Sahota said.

Each day about 40 students come through the program to eat in the multipurpose room with its attached kitchen.

“Basically the kitchen was sitting doing nothing,” Sahota said. “We put it to better use.”

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com

 

 

Just Posted

Access: A day in the life using a wheelchair in Victoria

Black Press Media teamed up with the Victoria Disability Resource Centre to learn about barriers

Popular food truck to open restaurant on Oak Bay Avenue

Dead Beetz Burgers adds brick-and-mortar restaurant

18-year-old man stabbed near Langford bus exchange

The West Shore RCMP is looking for witnesses to the Oct. 11 incident

CRD aims to reduce solid waste going to Hartland Landfill by a third by 2030

District launches public engagement campaign for waste reduction strategies

Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin receives first poppy in Legion-led ceremony

The ceremony is one of the first steps to kick off the 2019 poppy campaign

VIDEO: Explosion, fire sends woman running from Saanich home

Heavy smoke in the area, crews on scene

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read