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Strathcona breakfast program serves over 11,000 meals in five months

September 13 2016

"With 11,000 meals served in just five months, Strathcona Community Centre's breakfast program makes sure Vancouver kids are set up for success, regardless of family income," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Kids

Today Mayor Robertson joined local students and family members at the Strathcona Community Centre Association breakfast program, where over 11,000 meals were served to local students and family members from January 1 to May 31, 2016.

In December 2015, City Council approved a grant of $80,000 to the Strathcona Community Centre Association breakfast program to support their work in addressing food insecurity in the neighbourhood. The program feeds up to 120 students and family members each morning.

Funding for the breakfast program aligns with our Healthy City Strategy, in particular, to ensure that Vancouver's children have the best chance of enjoying a healthy childhood and that Vancouver has a healthy, just, and sustainable food system.

Builds community and teaches crucial food skills

"With 11,000 meals served in just five months, Strathcona Community Centre's breakfast program makes sure Vancouver kids are set up for success, regardless of family income," says Mayor Gregor Robertson. "The Strathcona breakfast program is a valued neighbourhood hub that builds community and teaches crucial food skills. I'm proud to champion this important program that makes sure all kids have the chance to succeed."

"Our breakfast program is very important to our community. The funding from the City has created a level of stability that we have never had for the program," says Shannon Williams, President of the Strathcona Community Centre Association. "We were always fundraising and were in fear that we would have to cancel the breakfast program if we could not raise enough funds."

Children and youth statistics

  • One-third of food bank users in BC are children and youth.
  • Across Vancouver, 22% of children live in low income families.
  • The Strathcona neighbourhood has the highest poverty rate, with 70% of children living in poverty.

Positive impact of the program

In assessing implementation of the breakfast program following our funding, a third-party evaluation found that the program:

  • Is helping facilitate children's positive engagement in the community
  • Has increased children's self-confidence, social, and leadership skills

The evaluation also found that the program has increased opportunities for caregivers to:

  • Learn about healthy eating options
  • Improve their social connectedness with other families and program staff and volunteers, while reducing stress related to accessing healthy food

What the program includes

In addition to serving a wholesome breakfast every school day morning, the program includes:

  • A food safe and nutrition workshop for grade six and seven students in Lord Strathcona Elementary School
  • A food industry mentorship
  • Field trip activities for student Breakfast Buddies
  • Dental clinic health education visits during breakfast

Volunteers are a critical part of the program

Volunteers are a critical part of the breakfast program and include parents of children in the school as well as members of the broader community. From January 1 to May 31, 2016, over 440 hours were logged by 10 volunteers.

Breakfast program activities and workshops

Breakfast Buddies and "Chat and Chew" activities

This initiative brings students behind the counter to learn and gain skills, knowledge, and confidence as they are exposed to a fast-paced food-service environment where they are supported by program staff and volunteers. Students are also given access to the food industry and take part in guest mentor visits and field trips.

Nutrition and food safety workshops

Grade six and seven students gain food safe skills and nutrition knowledge helping them transition from elementary to high school. There are a total of six modules that students complete which were developed and facilitated in partnership with the BCIT Nursing Practicum program, Vancouver Coastal Health - Environmental Health, and Lord Strathcona Elementary School.

Dental clinic education visits

During these visits from the Strathcona Community Dental Clinic, students and parents participate in activities and discussions around dental health learning about the benefits of good oral hygiene, visual demonstrations of sugar content in pop, juice, and granola bars; and tooth brushing technique demonstrations.