By Bruce Corcoran
Not even a global pandemic can prevent a local service group from helping to feed area students.
Members of the Capt. Garnet Brackin IODE chapter recently donated $1,500 towards student nutrition in Chatham-Kent.
Sandra Smith, with the IODE, said the funding came from the chapter’s bingo association, which is tied to the Riverview Gaming Centre.
“Because we are unable to do fundraisers right now, this is coming out of our bingo association fund,” she said.
Smith added the IODE chapter budgeted to donate to the program, something it does every year.
Al Davies, with CK Public Health’s Student Nutrition Program, said the help is appreciated, even more so this year, despite some students staying at home to learn virtually.
“The funding is as important as it’s ever been. Capt. Brackin IODE has been a longtime supporter of our program,” he said. “What we’re finding this year, although the numbers at the schools are down, the need is significantly increased in that the kids that are coming to school, where perhaps before (COVID-19) they didn’t have the need because mom and dad were working. And now they are coming to school and that may not be the case.”
Davies added that local school boards incorporated student nutrition into their fall planning.
“Part of the school boards’ back-to-school plan was that there would be food at school for the kids. With the help of the IODE, we’re making that happen,” he said.
Every school in Chatham-Kent receives support from the program.
Marianne Johnstone of the IODE said breakfast and snack programs, normally available at schools, are not running at this time. Instead, the food is going directly into the classrooms.
“It’s all in bins in the classrooms. It’s more money because things have to be packaged,” she said.