Weekends are all about freedom for many students, but for others they mean hunger.
That’s why the St. Paul’s Family Resources Institute Food Bank teamed up with J.L. Ilsley High School in Halifax about a year ago.
Now around 15 students go home with a small bag of food every Friday.
“Whatever their family situation is, whatever the issue is at their household, there should be no reason that any child has to go without food,” said Kristen Hollery, community ministry director at the institute.
There’s a breakfast program during the week at the high school, and snacks during the day.
The new food bank program fills the weekend gap.
Students drop by the Pathways to Education office or the public health nurse’s office Friday after school to pick up a food bag.
Usually that bag includes a couple of cans of tuna, a box of Kraft dinner, some granola bars, some pudding cups, an apple or grapes and sometimes canned pasta.
“We’re just giving them enough stuff to throw in their backpacks to take home with them,” Hollery said at a Mainstreet public event Tuesday.
Respecting student dignity
The program is all about respecting student dignity while creating access to food, Hollery said.
Usually, food bank clients are registered, and their household information is taken.
In this case, the food is only weighed before it’s donated to the school, Hollery said.
The food bank doesn’t collect students names, ages or why they need food.
“At this point, we don’t need to put that on a child,” she said. “The fact that a child is actually coming and asking for food is appalling enough.”