The hallways of Pine Grove PS have changed a little over the last year! Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday when you enter the school, 4 carts with healthy and delicious food are waiting to provide students with that extra boost they need in the morning to start their day off right – full of energy and ready to focus on their school work.
In January of 2016, Mme. Moonje in partnership with Halton Food for Thought started Pine Grove’s Breakfast Cart Program with the help of 11 student volunteers and 6 teacher volunteers. I recently sat down with Mme. Moonje to ask her about Pine Grove’s Breakfast Program.
Mme. Moonje was inspired to start Pine Grove’s Breakfast Program by two things, her students and her daughter “my daughter Katherine was the coordinator of the Breakfast Program at TA Blakelock High School and she was very passionate for it”. She wanted to take away the stigma that it was only for some kids and so she made it for everyone by making it more of a social event. She inspired me to start Pine Grove’s Breakfast Program. I also noticed that a lot of my students were saying that they were hungry at around ten o’clock. This was preventing them from concentrating on their work and they wanted to eat their lunches early. I wanted to provide them breakfast that would fill them up, so they would not be hungry until lunch and they could focus throughout class.”
Mme. Moonje’s goal for Pine Grove’s Breakfast Program is to serve food every morning. “At first, we provided breakfast Tuesdays and Fridays; however, we decided to add in a third day, Wednesdays.” Students (in a survey, done by Mme. Moonje) expressed the desire for another day, and so we responded to that.” The survey also let us know that 36% of Pine Grove students do not have breakfast before coming to school for a variety of different reasons.
At our Breakfast Program we serve something from at least 3 of the food groups, (fruits and/or veggies, dairy and grain, etc.) And one day we even served hummus to try to show students new, healthy food options. The great thing about the breakfast cart is it provides access to healthy food to all students. Even if a student is a little late or the bus comes late they can still grab a healthy snack on the way to class.
In May, Halton Food For Thought is hosting their Spring Breakfast Gala that helps raise funds to support Student Nutrition programs around Halton. Mme Moonje is also on the Gala committee and encourages parents and students to purchase tickets to attend this amazing event.
In March the HDSB presented the Inspire award to Mme. Moonje for her involvement with Pine Grove’s Breakfast Program. “I am honored to receive this award and would like to share it with all the staff and students who help me.”
Going forward, we plan to have more Breakfast Program days, with different varieties of healthy food. Mme. Moonje and the Breakfast Program volunteers would like to thank Mme. Rivet for ordering the food, Halton Food for Thought and Pine Grove’s Parent Council for their support.
Together we help ensure “No student goes hungry at school”
Article written by Olivia Jahnke, Gr 8 student Pine Grove Public School in Oakville