(2007 Ray Scapinello Foundation Fund) – Nutrition is essential for a child’s learning. Each morning, up to 83 school-aged children are served a nutritious breakfast at Onward Willow-Better Beginnings, Better Futures before heading to school. The children are also taught about ‘healthy food choices’ at a young age; this promotes a healthy lifestyle for their future. This may be the only nutritious meal of the day for some of the children in this neighbourhood. Make no mistake about it—although Guelph is a vibrant community, we have hungry kids in our own backyard.
Good nutrition is vital to a child’s growth, development and well being. Research tells us that students are able to concentrate better and learn more effectively when they are well nourished. Breakfast programs help students perform better in school and develop better eating habits that contribute to their long-term health.
In Guelph, there are a number of student nourishment programs for children and youth. These include:
- Onward Willow BBBF – Breakfast Club at the Family Gateway
- Food & Friends (Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health) – breakfast & snack programs at 49 locations
- Change Now Youth Drop in Centre – serving 450 meals each month at the Norfolk United Church
- Of course, let’s not forget Ontario’s Food Banks where 40% of those served are children.
Provincial funding currently covers 9-12% of program costs. Therefore, these programs must be funded from other areas. In 2007, The Guelph Community Foundation granted $500 to the Onward Willow Breakfast Club and $1,000 to Food & Friends. These programs received grants from the Ray Scapinello Foundation Fund, dedicated to ‘at risk’ children and youth in need. What impact does a $500 grant have? Although it is a small grant, it provides 454 nutritious breakfasts to students. The goal of these programs is to improve student nutrition and health (including obesity reduction), and increase student readiness to learn.
Proceeds raised from the Ray Scapinello Road Hockey Tournament are distributed throughout the community through Ray’s Fund, managed by The Guelph Community Foundation. In 2006, through the generosity of Ray and Maureen Scapinello, $8,500 was granted out to the community specifically for children & youth. Visit www.raysroadhockey.ca for more information about Ray’s annual road hockey tournament.
Sources: Ontario Hunger Report November 2006 & Investing in Ontario Children November 2004.