$2,000 grant helps program which feeds over 400 students
HAMILTON, ON, March 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Union Gas is helping Barton Secondary School fund its "Breakfast Program" courtesy of a $2,000 grant awarded today.
Dave Gardener, Union Gas utility service manager for Hamilton, presented the cheque to Barton Secondary School's Nutrition Program Assistant Co-ordinator Irene Iossifidis at the start of morning break at the school. Also in attendance were Deb Jukes, school principal, Sandra Holmes, program co-ordinator, and Bhairavi Kumar, Hamilton Partners in Nutrition representative.
"At Union Gas, we believe in investing today to ensure a bright tomorrow," said Gardener. "That means supporting important educational programs in the communities we serve. We are very pleased to help Barton Secondary School with their Breakfast Program and the important role it has in building a stronger, more vibrant community."
Although teachers at the school have always been concerned about students arriving to school without proper nourishment, it took a student nearly fainting in a classroom in May 2009 as well as a subsequent school-wide survey to validate what Iossifidis and Holmes had long suspected: 47 per cent of Barton students came to school without eating breakfast.
As Iossifidis explains, "After spending the summer applying for grants and visiting local businesses to obtain necessary start-up funds, we formed a committee and were able to offer breakfast two days per week during morning break."
Both Iossifidis and Holmes are quick to credit the Barton community for coming on board to support the program. Teachers volunteer their time during morning breaks to supervise, but overseeing the whole operation is the Family Studies Food and Nutrition class.
Two appointed "directors" are in charge every week and are assessed on their ability to troubleshoot as they ensure that the program runs efficiently. The Comprehensive Class helps with preparation and clean up, both valuable life skills. By taking ownership, students are increasing school spirit, and when students take pride in their school, they do better academically.
With the support of a committed school community, the program currently serves hundreds of students a day, five days a week -- giving students a variety of healthy food choices. The Nutrition Program has clearly helped to reverse the effect hunger has on classroom performance and long-term education achievement.
Iossifidis added: "The generosity of Union Gas will be used to help expand our breakfast menu. We are now able to purchase and serve more dairy products than ever before. Their generosity makes a huge difference in the lives of many students. The Breakfast Program could not be effective without the help of selfless corporations just like Union Gas."
Over the past 100 years, Union Gas has been privileged to work in more than 400 Ontario communities. In addition to natural gas delivery services for homes and businesses, Union Gas has contributed to the province through significant economic investments, hundreds of jobs, millions in municipal taxes, energy efficiency programs, thousands of volunteer hours for community organizations, major charitable giving and sponsorships. Last year alone, Union Gas contributed $3 million to charitable organizations across Ontario, including more than $900,000 to United Way. For more information visit uniongas.com/community.
About Union Gas
Union Gas Limited is a major Canadian natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company based in Ontario with 100 years of experience and service to customers. The distribution business serves about 1.4 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in more than 400 communities across northern, southwestern and eastern Ontario. One of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2012, Union Gas is a Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE) company with assets of $5.6 billion and approximately 2,200 employees. For more information, visit uniongas.com.
For further information:
Union Gas Limited
Manager, External Communications and Media Relations
Ph: 519 436-5490 or 1-800-571-8446 ext. 5490
Cell: 519 365-1010
Fax: 519 436-4621
Barton Secondary School Nutrition Program
Assistant Co-ordinator, Teacher
Ph: 905-389-2234 Ext. 518