Ontario farmers are following through with a plan they hatched to feed students across the province.
On Friday, representatives from Egg Farmers of Ontario were at Brechin Public School to present a cheque for $75,000 to Student Nutrition Ontario. It’s part of the farmers’ three-year, $225,000 commitment to the organization.
“Our farmers work hard and it’s really important for them to make sure kids are supported and their bellies are full,” said Donna Lange, acting director of public affairs with Egg Farmers of Ontario. “Their communities are very important to them. A lot of them are multi-generational farms and they’ve seen kids come and go through the schools.”
Harry and Willy Eisses, of Eisses Farms in Innisfil, were on hand for Friday’s presentation. They said the versatile egg is ideal for school food programs.
“It’s one of the best foods we can have here at schools. They’re so nutritious,” Harry Eisses said, adding he is “so proud of the (Egg Farmers of Ontario) board’s involvement in this.”
Brechin Public School principal Allison Beecroft is grateful her school will receive some of the funding. The breakfast program is popular there.
“The children gravitate to it,” she said. “As soon as they get off the buses, they go to see what’s to eat today.”
Inevitably, there will be eggs, and the kids love the different ways parent volunteers prepare them — egg bites, mini-omelets, egg burritos.
That popularity is why Brechin Public School was chosen as the backdrop for the latest cheque presentation, said Nicola Lyle, manager of Student Nutrition Ontario for the central-east region.
She also noted nutrition programs for students aren’t only about tackling poverty. Some students aren’t hungry when they wake up, but a long bus ride can change that.
“We really work to have student nutrition programs accessible to everyone,” she said.
Friday was World Egg Day — an appropriate time to make the donation and to celebrate something loved worldwide.
“They’re easy to handle, they’re easy to cook, and finding protein foods for student nutrition programs can be difficult,” Lyle said.
Before the pandemic forced the closure of schools in March, about one million Ontario students between the ages of three and 18 relied on student nutrition programs. The need has grown during the pandemic, Egg Farmers of Ontario stated in a news release.
“Many families are struggling financially because of COVID-19 and, with students back in school, nutrition programs play an important role in ensuring children have access to nutritious food each day,” said Catherine Parsonage, chair of Student Nutrition Ontario. “Egg Farmers of Ontario’s generous donation is helping children who need it most.”