Raising Awareness Around Need for Universal Access to Healthy Foods at School
Burnham Public School in Cobourg has provided daily meals for students over 20 years
PORT HOPE, ON (March 6, 2023) – The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit would like to congratulate Burnham Public Health School students and staff who continue to raise awareness around the importance of healthy food with their breakfast program.
On Thursday March 9, 2023, Burnham Public School students and staff will crunch down on Ontario grown apples. Their aim is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy food at school. For almost 20 years, the school’s vibrant breakfast program has warmly welcomed students with a daily morning meal provided with support from Northumberland Food for Thought.
“Access to nourishing food at school contributes to our students’ success,” said Martha Harp-McMurray, Principal, Burnham Public School. “As our students walk into the classroom, they can grab something to eat. When they start their day with the nutrition they need, they are better prepared for a full day of learning.”
Canada is the only G7 country that does not have a national school food program. The Canadian Federal Government has allocated $1 billion over five years in the 2023 budget to establish a National School Nutritious Meal Program. The Great Big Crunch is a national event to highlight the need for a universal access to healthy food at school.
“Our community and local school boards have been long-time supporters of local student nutrition programs with Northumberland County’s first two breakfast programs started in 1992. Now, 96 per cent of publicly funded schools in Northumberland County offer healthy food at school,” says Kimberly Leadbeater, Registered Dietitian with HKPR District Health Unit and Chair for Northumberland Food for Thought. “School food programs are linked with positive impacts on children’s mental health, behaviours, and ability to learn and this federal commitment would mean secure funding to improve programs.”
Last year close to 6000 students in Northumberland County benefited from a breakfast, lunch, or snack program at school, supported by Northumberland Food for Thought. These programs are open to all and promote healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Northumberland Food for Thought works to ensure all children in Northumberland County attend school well nourished and ready to learn. Aiming to provide safe environments, free of judgment, in which children and youth can develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
Beth Kolisnyk, Community Development Coordinator, Northumberland Food for Thought
Kimberly Leadbeater, Public Health Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit
1-866-888-4577 ext.1275, KLeadbeater@hkpr.on.ca