A team effort and tremendous support from our community has secured the operation of Every Breakfast Counts for the summer of 2018 and the summer of 2019. In just three weeks, we raised $50,723, far exceeding our target of $25,000.
This would not have been possible without contributions from businesses, organizations and citizens, along with help from our partners: Algoma Family Services, Sault Ste. Marie District Social Services and the United Way of Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District.
This spring, staff in my office approached me with a question: what happens to the local students who depend on breakfast programming provided at school for a meal to begin the day?
When we asked about this need, and how we could assist with addressing it, we quickly determined the following:
Our community has the expertise to help – Algoma Family Services works with our school boards throughout the year to address food insecurity.
Our community has the desire to help – the United Way has developed, and City Council has endorsed, a poverty plan, it has acknowledged and prioritized food insecurity and it is currently in the process of establishing a Food Security Resource Center.
Our community has the infrastructure to help – Social Services operates across our community year round and works with many of the same families who are challenged by food insecurity.
So, if we have the expertise to help, and the desire to help and the infrastructure to help, what were we missing? What we are missing was the funding to purchase the food for a summer program.
I not only saw this as a challenge we could meet, I saw it as one we had a responsibility to solve. So my office committed to our partners that they could go ahead and develop the program, and we would make sure the money was raised.
Thanks to our caring community, this was not a challenging task and thanks to our caring community, there will be a new option to address food insecurity.
It is also important to recognize the importance of our community partners. Algoma Family Services has used its expertise to develop a food plan and is also able to help increase our buying power, meaning we will be getting the most out of the support raised. The United Way accepted donations and distributed receipts to donors. Social services staff and summer students will purchase food and distribute meals.
Meals will be provided through Social Services neighbourhood programming, and 100 percent of the funds raised will go towards the purchase of fresh fruit, milk, yogurt, cereals and other healthy food options.
Once again, to all of the people who supported our campaign through financial contributions, or the contributions of their time and efforts: thank you for your generosity. Your community will be better off because of your civic-minded actions.