We often hear breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At Westcreek PS in Pickering, parents and students have taken this to heart and are making sure students have the opportunity for proper nutrition through the schools' breakfast club.
"We have apples, oranges, cheese, porridge and all that kind of stuff," says Sami, a grade 8 student.
Sami, who has been involved with the breakfast club for four years enjoys the nutritious meal in addition to getting to come and hang out with friends and eating some food.
Parent Danielle Honsberger, who runs her own catering company and has three students at Westcreek PS, has also been involved in the program for the last four years. Honsberger says she loves the breakfast program because it is all-inclusive and very welcoming for all.
"There is also a social part to the breakfast club as both my kids and I came to the community and the breakfast program was a way for us to interact with other families and get to know the Westcreek community," says Honsberger. Connections made with kids at breakfast club carry over into other activities where parents involved in the program will also have bonds and relationships with students at Westcreek PS in other school activities.
Fellow parent Kim Panourgias has seen the growth of the breakfast program from its inception to today.
"The program was started seven years ago by a mom who really saw a need in the school. She used to bring in fruits and some snacks and set-up a table and encourage kids to stop in. We had no funding and she was doing it completely on her own and we were looking for donations from the community to come and help the program," says Panourgias. "I stepped in a year after that and helped organize it through the Durham Child Nutrition Program and got volunteers and started running it then."
The program was well received from both the school community and the administration at the school, Panourgias remembers. "We did a lot of cooking in the early time flipping eggs and making pancakes and had the students involved as well."
With pockets of need in the community, parents involved encourage everybody to come out to the program currently running three days a week with student and parent volunteers.
If there is one thing Sami would say to fellow students or parents wishing to start a breakfast program it would be to let them know, "It's just a wonderful place where people who maybe cannot get nutrition in the morning before school can eat and have a good breakfast. I keep coming back because I love seeing everybody's smiles and the hard work that goes into this," says Sami.