It’s currently 11:25 am. I’m at work. I haven’t eaten a thing yet today. I’m hungry but I’m trying to just ignore that rumble in my belly and power through my work. It’s not going great. I’m finding myself easily distracted. I just had to read an email three times to assure myself that I really got what it said before I replied. My co-workers, who I always get along with well, are annoying me. They’re loud and contributing to my inability to focus on my work. Except they’re not really. They aren’t doing anything that they don’t do every day. It’s not them. It’s me. I haven’t had anything but a cup of tea since dinner last night – almost 12 hours ago. I’ve already made six corrections to this paragraph. Now if I was just at home sitting on the couch watching Netflix this probably wouldn’t be a big deal. But I’m at work trying to be productive. And it’s not going all that great.
I should eat something right? Of course I should and I will. But I really wanted to put myself in someone else’s shoes, even for just a few hours, and get a sense of what it might feel like to be a kid at school. A hungry kid at school. It doesn’t feel very good. I mean psychically I’m fine, just hungry. But my ability to focus is noticeably diminished. My desire to interact with the people around me is low. I’m simply not me right now. And I can’t imagine sitting in a class room trying to learn. Even though this is a small “experiment” for me this is reality for many students across the country.
Did you know that 1 in 7 Canadian children go to school without breakfast? That means right now, even in my own daughter’s grade 1 classroom there may very well be 3 kids with no food in their belly’s right now. But it’s not just about breakfast. A child’s overall nutrition plays a key roll in their school outcomes. And that’s where student nutrition programs come in. These programs create a healthy school nutrition environment. Evidence suggests there is a direct correlation between eating good nutrition and how students perform in school. Some of the benefits of student nutrition programs include:
- Providing nutrients and energy so students are ready to learn and participate in school
- Students have better test scored in math, reading and science
- Student’s social behaviours are more positive
- Students learn healthier eating habits and have healthier body weights
- Students are more alert
- Students miss less school and make it easier for teachers to focus on educating
We want to help our students to do their best right? And I don’t just mean “your” student but OUR students. The kids in our community. The ones that sit next to our kids in the classroom. The ones they play with in the playground and invite to their birthday parties. Every child deserves the chance to succeed. And we can help them do that.
We can help – #Toonies4Tummies
If you live in Ontario you may be familiar with The Grocery Foundation. They are an Ontario based not for profit, representing leaders from Canada’s grocery industry. The Grocery Foundation was established in 1979 to enrich the lives and well being of children. To date, The Grocery Foundation has raised more than $85 million which has gone toward over 250 organisations to help meet the health and wellness needs for school aged children.
Toonies for Tummies was launched by The Grocery Foundation in 2000 and has raised nearly $15,000,000 already! The campaign not only raises money to support nutrition programs but it also helps raise awareness and elevate discussion, engaging both adults and youth. This year over 500 stores will take part in Toonies for Tummies including: Metro, Food Basics, Longo’s and over 30 independent grocery retailers in Ontario. And I am really, really thrilled that for the first time, with help from Save-On-Foods, the program has expanded to Western Canada this year! With the help of the Breakfast Club of Canada, donations raised in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be used to support nutrition programs in those provinces. There are currently 300 clubs serving 3.7 million breakfasts in the western provinces. This partnership will go a long way in supporting these programs. In addition to the participating retailers, there are a number of campaign sponsors that help to make this campaign a success.
So how can you get involved? It’s really easy! From now until February 23rd just visit any of the participating retailers and donate a toonie at the checkout! It’s really that easy. Or if you prefer you can even donate online using Paypal. The Foundation’s goal this year is to raise $850,000 and every cent of that money, with support from the sponsors, goes to student nutrition programs right in your community! Your toonie can make such a difference. I’m not a coffee drinker but I’m told that’s less than a decent cup of coffee these days. So when you’re ringing your groceries through just say YES to help our kids.
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Disclaimer – I am a #Toonies4Tummies Ambassador. All opinions are completely my own.