Home Blog September 2016 After the Bell a resounding success!

After the Bell a resounding success!

After the Bell a resounding success!
Our new After the Bell program has wrapped up after a highly successful summer.

Each week this July and August, food packs containing kid-friendly foods donated by our corporate partners were distributed to children in selected Ontario and Saskatchewan communities. In total, 13,120 packs were handed out. Participating food banks also received money to purchase perishable items such as fruit and vegetables to supplement the packs.

Kids like eating healthy

The packs were a big hit with everyone, including kids, coordinators and parents, who appreciated the variety of healthy foods.

A surprise hit was the hummus, which most kids had never tried before. “By the end of summer they were saying it was their favourite food,” says Jocelyne Paulhus, a Coordinator with the City Parks and Recreation in North Battlefords.

Another favourite was the fresh fruit that supplemented the packs — a real treat since many of the kids may not have it at home. One group of children said it was fun to see what type of fruit they would get because it was different each week. Another group was excited to try nectarines when they were handed out in August, as many had never tried or even heard of them before.

Filling a deep need

Paulhus noted that many of the children who came to the playground program in her area “hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch, and they might not have had supper the previous night.”

When she asked why whey liked the food bags, one of the children replied, “it’s something to look forward to every week.”

She recounts the story of a boy who showed up near closing time, asking for another food pack and some fruit to help feed his little sister.

Nothing goes to waste

Organizers were careful to ensure that nothing in the precious deliveries was wasted, even in the face of unexpected obstacles.

In North Battleford, for example, the playground program experienced major disruption when splash parks were shut. “The first three weeks in July, 80 bags a week were distributed,” says Erin Katerynych, Executive Director, Battlefords District Food & Resource Centre. “Then the oil spill occurred in the North Saskatchewan River (our water supply) and the water could no longer be used at the splash parks.” The number of bags picked up dropped to a low of 40 a week throughout August.

The unclaimed packs where given to Concern for Youth, a program that helps teens and even children who are living on the streets. They were incredibly grateful for the unexpected but much needed food.

Making a difference

This program made an enormous difference in the participating communities, helping kids from low-
income families enjoy a steady stream of healthy food.

June Muir, FCIS, Chief Executive Officer of the Unemployed Help Centre of Windsor, praised the program as “A great idea to ensure that kids who otherwise would have gone without have nutritious food to eat over a summer weekend…. The donors and organizers of this program truly made a difference for these children, who will not forget this summer!”

Be a part of next year’s After the Bell program and help children enjoy a healthier, happier summer. Contact Erin Filey-Wronecki, Manager, Corporate Partnerships, Food Banks Canada.

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of food distributed by Canadian food banks is fresh (eg. milk, eggs, fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, bread)