FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TORONTO, Oct. 1 /CNW/ - Many of Ontario's children and adolescents go to
school hungry. Numerous studies prove students need to be well nourished in
order to learn. Established in 1992, BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING has been using a
community partnership model to start and sustain school-based breakfast, lunch
and snack programs as the best way of ensuring children have access to
healthy, nutritious food to start their day.
Since 2004, the Ontario government has injected $8.5 million annually, or
approximately $4 per student per year, into its Student Nutrition Program.
These funds are used to supplement breakfast, lunch and snack nutrition
programs across the province. Although this is an increase from earlier
levels, it still falls far behind British Columbia's contribution of $21 per
student. In addition, considerable fundraising is done by parents and
organizations like BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING to support these programs in all
parts of the province.
"BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING provides grants and resources to help fund
programs for Ontario's 2 million students," says Martha O'Connor, Executive
Director, BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING. "Unfortunately, last year we were unable to
respond to 83% of the funds requested. More funding is needed desperately."
BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING is calling on all parties to support increased
funding for Ontario's Student Nutrition Program.
In addition, BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING's research reveals children in
Ontario are receiving a failing grade when it comes to meeting the daily
recommendations of Canada's Food Guide.
"In BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING's 2007 Report Card on Nutrition for School
Children, we surveyed parents to examine the eating habits of children and
adolescents," continues O'Connor. "Ontario's children received a 'D' grade
signifying they are going to school poorly nourished and not ready to learn."
The 2007 Report Card revealed startling statistics amongst Ontario's
children and adolescents (ages four to 18 years):
- 49% are not meeting Canada's Food Guide's daily recommended servings
for vegetables and fruit
- 75% of children consume less than the daily recommended servings for
- 28% consume more than 2 servings per week of French fries
- 40% drink more than 2 servings per day of fruit juice
- 37% drink more than 1 serving per day of regular soft drink
"The fact that all children in Ontario do not have access to breakfast,
lunch and snack programs makes this even worse if we want to raise the grade
in 2008," comments O'Connor. "We also know Ontario residents are in favour of
these programs. Based on a recent survey conducted for BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING
by Harris/Decima, 90% of Canadians felt school-based breakfast, lunch and
snack programs for hungry children are a good cause to support."
BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING is urging voters to contact the candidates in
their riding to discuss this important issue and ask for a commitment, on
behalf of their party, to increase the funding and make school-based
breakfast, lunch and snack programs accessible to Ontario's hungry children.
For more information visit www.breakfastforlearning.ca.
About BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING
BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING is the leading non-profit organization dedicated
to funding community-based student nutrition programs in Canada. Working to
ensure that every child in Canada attends school well-nourished and ready to
learn, BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING provides funds, nutrition education, resources
and program support to student nutrition programs across the country. To date,
millions of nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks have been provided
through the programs we support. For more information about BREAKFAST FOR
LEARNING, visit www.breakfastforlearning.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Ann Dennis, Senior Manager, Marketing and
Communications, BREAKFAST FOR LEARNING, Office: (416) 218-3540 ext. 4429,
Cell: (416) 985-1516, firstname.lastname@example.org