Filling bellies to fulfill potential

Filling bellies to fulfill potential
by Maritime

With the abundance of technology at the tips of teenager’s fingers, it might be surprising to learn that hunger is one of the greatest distractions faced by youth in Cape Breton schools. Cape Breton has the highest rate of child poverty. As a result, teenagers are arriving to their classrooms hungry or undernourished, and unable to concentrate.

In an effort to address hunger in high schools, The Salvation Army’s Sydney Community Church became involved in providing a lunch program at Sydney Academy High School. After Nicole MacLean, Community Ministries Coordinator, heard about hungry students reaching out their cooking class teacher for leftovers, it was clear that the students were in dire need and she was in a position to take action.

MacLean and Sydney Community Church officers, Majors Corey and Charlene Vincent, gathered funds to begin a lunch program, providing ready-made snacks and lunches such as mini pizzas, shakes, yogurt, and soup.

MacLean says, “If we want our teens to be able to concentrate and reach their full potential, they can’t do this on an empty stomach.”

With the success of the lunch program at Sydney Academy, MacLean wanted to expand the program and reached out to Memorial High School guidance counsellor, Bonnie McCormick. After seeing students so hungry they are unable to sit still and concentrate, she was elated to learn that Breton Chartered Accountants would sponsor the Memorial High School lunch program.

The Salvation Army in Sydney has been involved with feeding students aged five to 14 throughout the region. The Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K has been a long-time sponsor of The Salvation Army by providing funding for the ABC Program. The ABC program provides boxes of non-perishable snacks to elementary and junior high schools so that no child will go hungry.

With the help of our community partners, Breton Chartered Accountants and Kiwanis Club of Cape Breton Golden K, The Salvation Army is able to provide the nourishment needed to keep kids productive and successful from primary to grade 12.