Chatham-Kent is home to many active service clubs doing amazing things out in the community. Their deep-rooted history within our communities can be seen on plaques, parks, and buildings to commemorate their commitment to improving the community. Some service organizations are known for their fundraisers, while others have a legacy of community change makers.
Clubs like the May Court Club of Chatham have passionate members who actively fundraise and volunteer to support Queen Elizabeth II School’s Breakfast Program and the Emergency Lunch Box program which provides healthy snacks to 23 schools within Chatham-Kent.
Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day - especially for young children. By offering a breakfast program in schools or healthy snacks options within the classroom, the May Court Club is helping to make sure that this important meal isn't missed.
“By providing food, it sets a really good tone in the classroom because kids are fed.”
About 50 – 70 children are fed daily through the program, which is open to any student at the school. May Court members sponsor the program and often volunteer their time to prepare and serve food. While under COVID-19 restrictions, the breakfast program has had to shift how it operates to meet the new requirements. For example, kids are now receiving a paper bag with snacks such as a juice box, a granola bar, a yogurt tube, a cheese string, and a muffin.
Since March 2020, the May Court Club has not been able to host their fundraising events to continue delivering the Breakfast Program. By working with United Way, May Court was able to receive funding to continue providing health breakfasts at the school.
The sister program to the Breakfast Program is the Emergency Lunch Box which is also provided through the May Court Club of Chatham. The Emergency Lunch Box provides snacks to 23 schools that do not offer a breakfast program. These snacks often supplement a lunchbox that is looking a little bare or gives a child something extra to help them get through the school day.
Benefits a Breakfast Programs include:
- A caring and inclusive school community
- Improved learning and focus
- Access to healthy food choices
- Reduction in behavioural issues
United Way of Chatham-Kent is committed to fighting food insecurities in Chatham-Kent.
A list of funded agencies can be found here.
The COVID Student Nutrition Program helped to feed an average of 300 kids a week between mid March to the end of August 2020. As seen on YourTV (aired April 6, 2020) United Way talks with community partners about how they are working together to made sure that no child went hungry while schools were closed.