Mayor Robertson joined local students and family members at the Strathcona Community Centre Association breakfast program, where over 11,000 meals were served to local students and family members from January 1 to May 31, 2016.
In December 2015, Vancouver City Council approved a grant of $80,000 to the Strathcona Community Centre Association breakfast program to support their work in addressing food insecurity in the neighbourhood. The program feeds up to 120 students and family members each morning.
“With 11,000 meals served in just five months, Strathcona Community Centre’s breakfast program makes sure Vancouver kids are set up for success, regardless of family income,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “
The Strathcona breakfast program is a valued neighbourhood hub that builds community and teaches crucial food skills. I’m proud to champion this important program that makes sure all kids have the chance to succeed.”
“Our breakfast program is very important to our community. The funding from the City has created a level of stability that we have never had for the program,” says Shannon Williams, President of the Strathcona Community Centre Association. “We were always fundraising and were in fear that we would have to cancel the breakfast program if we could not raise enough funds.”
One-third of food bank users in BC are children and youth. Across Vancouver, 22 per cent of children live in low income families. The Strathcona neighbourhood has the highest poverty rate, with 70 per cent of children living in poverty.
In assessing implementation of the breakfast program following City funding, a third-party evaluation found that the program is helping facilitate children’s positive engagement in the community and has increased children’s self-confidence, social and leadership skills.
The evaluation also found that the program has increased opportunities for caregivers to learn about healthy eating options, as well as improving their social connectedness with other families and program staff and volunteers, while reducing stress related to accessing healthy food.
Funding for the breakfast program aligns with the City’s Healthy City Strategy, in particular, to ensure that Vancouver’s children have the best chance of enjoying a healthy childhood and that Vancouver has a healthy, just and sustainable food system.
In addition to serving a wholesome breakfast every school day morning, the program includes a food safe and nutrition workshop for grade six and seven students in Lord Strathcona Elementary School, food industry mentorship and field trip activities for student Breakfast Buddies as well as dental clinic health education visits during breakfast.