First breakfast food deliveries received, nutrition program foods still available for school children

“We want to say a special thank you for the addition of fresh fruit, granola bars, yogurt and oatmeal to our Operation Backpack program from the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training,” said Cathy Ashby, House of Lazarus executive director. Pictured above are Jacob Gagnon, HOL food bank coordinator, and Trevor Ashby, HOL volunteer. The two are ready to take over 100 food bags to South Dundas students. Pictured here is the student nutrition food supply now being added to Operation Backpack allocations. (HoL/Contributed photo)

SOUTH DUNDAS – School nutrition programs feed hundreds of local children when school is in session but when it’s not, organizations have to find other ways to try to get that food to the kids who need it.

Food from the school nutrition programs is now available to feed local children through a couple of different means.

During this school year, prior to the pandemic related shut down, about 140 South Dundas children were receiving Operation Backpack bags of food for the weekend. The food was delivered to the schools for distribution to students.

Since the school closures the House of Lazarus, which runs the Operation Backpack program has continued to hand out food bags weekly on Fridays at the South Dundas Municipal Centre.

“But, there hasn’t been consistent uptake, so we have been working with school principals in the last couple of weeks to ensure that children who need the food will be receiving it,” said Cathy Ashby, House of Lazarus executive director.

She reported that this week HOL will be delivering 100 bags of food to South Dundas students.

Some of the schools have a delivery system, while other schools are directing their students to the municipal centre for pick up.

This week’s supply will include additional items, since the House of Lazarus has received its first shipment of breakfast foods from the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training, which is responsible for the school nutrition programming.

“We have added more food to the bags since children are at home and missing the school food programs,” said Ashby.

The additions include fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese, granola bars and oatmeal.

“We are excited to be able to provide additional food to children who are staying home during COVID-19,” said Ashby. “We are very grateful to our community who continue to provide monetary and food donations at this time. They allow us to assist those in need.”

The House of Lazarus food bank has seen an increase in clients since the pandemic hit.

Ashby said there has been an increase of 32 per cent in the first four weeks.

At this point, Community Food Share has not seen increases quite that dramatic. The number of clients has increased about 15 per cent over the past four weeks.

CFS has also received their first weekly delivery from the student nutrition breakfast and snack program.

In typical times, healthy food is offered by these programs at no cost to students through food bins, buffet settings or student self-preparation areas, but these are not typical times so the food is being delivered to area food banks weekly for distribution.

“Community Food Share has received oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, granola bars and super bars to date,” said Jane Schoones, CFS team leader. “In the coming weeks we will receive a variety of cheese, veggies, hummus, and pitas. Families with school-aged students may access this program by contacting Community Food Share to arrange pick up of breakfast and snack program items.”

Families requiring food assistance during COVID-19 may also access a five-day supply of nutritionally-balanced food for each family member.

“If you, or anyone you know, needs assistance with food through these challenging times, we’re here to help,” said Schoones.

Community Food Share in Morrisburg and Winchester hours of operation are: Monday: 10 a.m. until noon, Wednesday: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Appointments are required to help us maintain social distancing.)

To setup an appointment please leave a message at either CFS food bank location and someone will be in touch to finalize the details. (Morrisburg: 613-543-0065/Winchester 613-774-0188 Email: coordinator@communityfoodshare.ca)

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