The Every Breakfast Counts committee wishes to announce the results of 2019 programming. In total, approximately 6,300 meals were distributed this summer, free of charge, to local children. Over a nine week period from July to August, a weekly average of 700 meals were distributed, exceeding the target of 500 and the 2018 average of 254 per week.
Meals were distributed through Best for Kids programming at the Greco and Manzo pools, Kids Being Kids programming at Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services community hubs, and the Child Care Algoma EarlyON Mobile Unit that travelled to select locations throughout the community.
“We are continuing to provide local children with nutritious meals through the hard work of volunteers and with the generous support of our community,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “Committee members have been working hard to develop effective methods of reaching the greatest number of children possible, and it is good to see our collective effort is making a difference.”
New this year, meal preparation was centralized at United Way’s Harvest Algoma Food Resource Centre. Staff and volunteers facilitated the pickup up of food, along with the preparation and distribution of meals. Sample meals included fruit and yogurt, veggies and dip, bagels, along with granola bars or baked goods. The average cost of food for a meal was approximately $1.30, aided by Student Nutrition Program vouchers that allowed for food to be purchased at a discounted price.
“The success of Every Breakfast Counts is an example of the kind of impact the resource centre can have in addressing food insecurity in our community. The centre served as a hub where food was stored, meals were prepared and the delivery of food was coordinated to locations throughout our community identified by the committee,” said Mike Delfre, Harvest Algoma Director of Operations.
The Every Breakfast Counts committee is comprised of representation from the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Mayor’s Office, Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services, United Way’s Harvest Algoma, Algoma Family Services, Sault Ste. Marie Innovation Centre, Child Care Algoma and EarlyON Child and Family Centre. Using data, the committee identified priority locations where the mobile unit distributed meals.
“We knew when we launched the program there was a significant need in the community resulting from the gap in service from children who rely on breakfast programming offered during the school year,” said Mike Nadeau, Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services CAO. “The increase in meals provided confirms that we are on the right track, and we are optimistic we will continue to reach more children moving forward.”
Every Breakfast Counts was conceptualized in the spring of 2018 as a means to address a service gap in the community by providing meals to youth who rely on breakfast programming offered during the school year. Almost $60,000 was raised in only a few weeks, and just over $40,000 remains after two years of operation.