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Lifelong Lessons from the Kitchen

Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season conjure images of full tables surrounded by family– meals carefully prepared to be shared with loved ones.

But for some Edmonton families, this time of year begins a season that decimates the family budget. That was the case for one mother, whose children go to a school where E4C provides snacks and lunches. After paying her monthly utility bills and school expenses, she had just $29 left for the rest of the month. She couldn’t afford to feed her family.

She’s just one of the 100,000 Edmontonians living in poverty. One third of those people are children.

E4C School Nutrition Programs provide meals and snacks during the day to children who don’t have enough healthy food to eat at home. Mark Sylvestre, principal at St. Francis of Assisi School in Edmonton, describes, “The programs are fundamental here. They are the reason that many families send their children to our school. We get higher attendance because of these programs. The kids aren’t hungry. They’re able to focus in class for the rest of their day.”

In addition to providing a meal, E4C offers a Young Chefs program for grade four to six students. The youngsters learn about cooking and the teamwork that goes into preparing food. “A lot of our students are in charge at home after school. They start making dinner for their family. Our school families have an average of five to six kids to feed.”

By modelling healthy lifestyles and healthy relationships with food, good habits and knowledge start to be embedded. Because skills in the kitchen can get us through the holiday season, but they also last a lifetime.

To donate to E4C School Nutrition programs, please visit our donate page.