Local programs provide access to the nutrition students need to learn while at school

By Mathew Lajoie

According to Breakfast Clubs of Canada, one in five children will not eat breakfast today. 

The Ontario Ministry of Children, Community Services and Social Services says that student nutrition programs at school play a major role in building a community of students that nurture the potential in each other with healthy food options for any hunger moment and offers an equal chance of success in the classroom for all children and youth.

Launched in 1997, Nutrition for Learning has been offering universal student nutrition programs in schools across the Waterloo Region. The organization was created to provide school-aged children access to nutritious food. 

Throughout the pandemic, the registered charity has safely continued to ensure that every student has an opportunity to attend school well-nourished. Collaborating with schools, partners and sponsors, Nutrition for Learning now proudly supports 150 programs across the Waterloo Region.

Through Nutrition for Learning, students benefit in many ways. In addition to having access to nutritious foods, nutrition programs builds a strong school community that cares for one another. 

The organization is grateful to its partners, sponsors and volunteers, all of whom make it possible to provide necessary Student Nutrition programs in our local schools. 

Want to help? There are several ways to support Nutrition for Learning with financial donations including:

1.    Making a one-time gift;
2.    Monthly giving; and
3.    Making a pledge with a specified payment schedule. 

Nutrition for Learning has had to adjust the way they deliver programs during the pandemic. When schools are open, they are able to serve in-school. When schools are closed, they provide a Community Pop UP Nutrition Programs

For more information on Nutrition for Learning, call 519-624-5744 or visit their website. Stay connected on social media – like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram!

Nutrition for Learning History 

In 1994, the Food Securities Coalition of Waterloo identified a significant number of children who were attending school without proper nutrition. Research shows that students have trouble learning when they are hungry at school. They are better able to focus and learn if they eat nutritious meals and snacks. 

The Waterloo Regional Health Department, local teachers and community members recognized the need to come together to develop and promote a viable breakfast and snack program. Thanks to the Food Securities Coalition, support was provided with money earmarked through the Canadian Living Foundation.

Support and resources provided by the Waterloo Regional Community Health Department included program support, grant application assistance, nutrition information and volunteer management. 

The number of programs grew quickly, and more and more schools saw the need to serve programs in their schools and the numbers have quickly from the original 3 programs to 150 programs across Waterloo Region.

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