St. Anthony CES participates in a “Great Big Crunch” in support of healthy food at school

St. Anthony Big Crunch

Thurs. March 7, 2024

c/o HKPR District Health Unit – 200 Rose Glen Road – Port Hope ON L1A 3V6

St. Anthony Catholic Elementary School Crunches Down for School Food Programs

Today, St. Anthony Catholic Elementary School students and staff crunched down on Ontario grown apples. Their aim is to raise awareness of the importance of healthy food at school. For almost 20 years, this school’s vibrant breakfast program has warmly welcomed students daily with a morning meal.

“Access to nourishing food at school supports student success and contributes to a welcoming school environment,” says Karen McCormack, principal at the school. “Studies show that when students start their day with the nutrition they need, they are better prepared for a full day of learning.”

Samantha Bercier, who helps to oversee the school’s program, says, “Working with volunteers and staff to ensure students have a nutritious breakfast is really rewarding. I love knowing that our school makes healthy food, like fruits and vegetables, a priority for our students.”

St. Anthony Big Crunch

Canada is the only G7 country that does not have a national school food program. The federal government has promised to invest $1 billion in school food over five years. As Budget 2024 approaches, we are calling on the government to act on its promise and support a National School Food Program. The Great Big Crunch is a national event intended to highlight the need for universal access to healthy food at school.

“Our community and school boards have been long-time supporters of local student nutrition programs. Northumberland County’s first two breakfast programs started in 1992. All 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. This federal commitment would mean secure funding to make our programs even better.”

Beth Kolisnyk, Community Development Coordinator, supports local Northumberland Food For Thought student nutrition programs. “Every day our volunteers and school staff prepare food for these programs—they shop, chop, bake, tidy-up, and do everything necessary to ensure that students continue to have access to healthy food at school,” says Kolisnyk. “Their commitment is inspiring, and we are so thankful for their support!”

The Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services provides seed funding for student nutrition programs in Ontario and generous grants and donations from the community continue to make these programs viable. A special thank-you to our community and to Cameco, Kawartha Credit Union, Post Consumer Brands, McDougall Insurance, The Schad Foundation, Ministry of Children, Community & Social Services, Northumberland County Food 4 All, Northumberland United Way, Peterborough Child & Family Centres, Student Nutrition Ontario Central East, The Grocery Foundation of Ontario, Breakfast Club of Canada, and Egg Farmers of Ontario. We would also like to thank the Kawartha, Pine Ridge District and the Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland, Clarington Catholic District School Boards for their continued commitment to supporting student nutrition programs in their respective schools.

St. Anthony Big Crunch