Back to School with a Full Belly

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Some kids love it.  Some kids hate it.  But it is on the way!  The kids are about to go back to school for another year of learning, friendship and fun.

Personally, I loved back to school as a kid.  Every year at the end of summer, I got to go to the mall with my mom to buy new clothes and supplies.  We’d usually make a day of it and grab some pizza for lunch.

I met Jenna earlier this summer.  She told me how she’s really excited to start grade four.  Her favourite classes are science and gym class.  “I can’t wait to see my friends again and tell them about all the things I did this summer!”

IMG_4316Her mother Trish, on the other hand, is not as excited.  Her hours have been cut at work again and she is having trouble paying for Jenna’s school supplies. “Rent is so expensive – I really can’t afford to pay for extra things Jenna needs.”

Trish isn’t the only one feeling the pinch in September.  Many clients that come into the food bank struggle with daily expenses. And food is often the most flexible thing in the budget.  Unhealthy food tends to be a lot cheaper than fresh foods so those items tend to make it into children’s lunches. 

“I always felt terrible when I couldn’t put fresh fruit or vegetables in her lunches – but those things cost so much lately.”

I’ve seen it myself when buying my groceries.  Fresh produce prices have been skyrocketing; sometimes it is just easier to get the cheaper items while sacrificing nutrition.

Even though Jenna is still young, she can still tell when there isn’t enough food for a healthy lunch.  “Once in a while I get two oranges in my lunch.  Those are my favourite!  Last year I didn’t get oranges much. Sometimes I didn’t get much to eat at all.”

This year Trish turned to the food bank, “I am always so grateful after going to the food bank.  I come home with healthy items for Jenna and myself.  Things like bread, cheese and meat so I can make her sandwiches for lunch.  And there are even eggs so she can have scrambled eggs in the morning – though I prefer mine sunny side up.”

I’m relieved know that families in Toronto have access to these food banks.  No child should go to school hungry.

Luckily, your support of North York Harvest helps us ensure that Trish can fill Jenna’s lunch bag with healthy foods each day.  She can also send Jenna off to school having had a healthy breakfast so she can concentrate on her studies.

Help start the school year off right for kids just like Jenna!  Donate today to ensure no kid in your community goes without a healthy lunch.


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