By Jenna Jensen
For the very first time, Frank J Mitchell Elementary School (FJMES) has launched a free, volunteer run breakfast program. After seeing a need, and having the desire to help, Pauline Schmidt, an Educational Assistant (EA) at FJMES has spearheaded the initiative and has seen a great amount of students swinging by for a breakfast of toast with butter and cinnamon or honey which all the children have now affectionately named “Heaven Bread.”
“Children may be hungry for a number of reasons other than economic hardship within the family. Some may come for toast because they didn’t feel like eating much at home, or are simply growing and need a boost. Studies show, and you can see it in our own students, that having breakfast helps kids learn and stay focused,” said Schmidt. “Right now, the popularity is overwhelming, but as the new wears off we expect to see a decline in the students participating.”
The first week saw an astounding amount of heaven bread produced. Over 50 loaves or 1133 slices were served, filling the tummies of almost all of FJMES students.
Along with the success of the Breakfast Program comes a cost. The District budget of $400 was used up right away and it is yet to be seen how future costs will be covered. Upon the start of the program, Stan Schmidt, Manager of Overwaitea Foods generously donated four toasters, and is offering the school a discount on bread. A local bookkeeper, Ron McIntyre has also donated several containers of honey. Also, learning of the program, and wanting to help was local company Rapid Water Services who stopped by the school to drop off a $600 donation.
“I truly believe in the importance of kids having breakfast before school and the difference it can make in their day. Hearing of all the volunteers and effort that is going into this program, I am thrilled to be able to help,” said Aaron Jensen, owner of Rapid Water Services.