Food is essential to successful learning

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Meet Donna – one of the many dedicated educators helping us get kids the nourishment they need to thrive.

If you have the pleasure of meeting Donna, you’ll quickly realize she is a woman of action who is completely dedicated to making life better for kids and families in need…and inspiring others to join her along the way.

“These kids deserve the world. If there’s something I can do to make their lives better, well, I’m going to do it!”

Donna is Grandview Elementary School’s Neighbourhood Assistant*, which means she helps bridge the relationship between parents and the school, ultimately to ensure each child is getting the support they need.

When Backpack Buddies approached Grandview to be its pilot school, Donna knew it was a perfect fit. “Kids had been coming to school on Mondays feeling hungry, grumpy, and lethargic,” says Donna. “Imagine trying to focus on schoolwork after two days with little to eat. Your stomach is growling and your blood sugar is low. Food has a huge impact on a kid’s success in school.”

Many families in Metro Vancouver are living well below the poverty line, but social programming has not yet caught up to rising rental rates and increased cost of utilities. On top of that, the recent gentrification of many Eastside neighbourhoods are driving the cost of living even higher.

Parents who are struggling financially are often faced with an impossible dilemma: ‘Where can we scrimp from? Rent has to be payed or we’ll be evicted. Bills have to be paid or our water and heat will get shut off. What’s left? Food and clothing.’”

Backpack Buddies helps relieve some of this pressure by supplying 30 weekend meals to Grandview Elementary students each week.  

It makes a huge difference. When kids are well fed, they are ready to take on the challenges of school.”

Filling in the weekend hunger gap means children are getting the nutrition they need to concentrate on schoolwork and enjoy life—and it wouldn’t be possible without generous supporters like you!  

*Neighbourhood Assistants work in schools that have a higher percentage of families facing poverty, single-parents who need extra support, refugees, and Indigenous families.

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