Breakfast program helps ease stress

Jessie Lee Elementary's Good Morning Club, sponsored by White Rock Rotary, is now in its third year

White Rock Rotary club members Joan Apel and Marcus Law chat with students at Jessie Lee Elementary's Good Morning Club.

White Rock Rotary club members Joan Apel and Marcus Law chat with students at Jessie Lee Elementary's Good Morning Club.

One of the great local successes of the White Rock Rotary Club in the past few years isn’t a bricks and mortar building or a monument set in stone.

Its importance to the community can best be seen in the smiles of children, and heard in their laughter and animated conversation before the school day begins at Jessie Lee Elementary.

Funded by the club and run by a rotation of people who have volunteered to pitch in – including parents, Rotary members, school child-worker Debby Chow and principal Carol Davison – the Good Morning Club provides students who need it a nutritious breakfast every morning.

Depending on the day, that can include such energy-builders as scrambled eggs or waffles or cereal or fresh fruit.

It’s aimed at children whose families, due to economic constraints or the struggle to meet work schedules – and often a combination of both – can’t provide such a breakfast at home.

For children whose parents must drop them off before the school day begins, the 7:45- 8:30 a.m. program provides a safe, warm environment – rather than hanging around outside the school office – and a chance to eat, socialize and get a good start on the day.

It’s increasingly evident the program – started more than two years ago as an initiative of former club president Joan Apel – is needed, current president Raj Rajogopal told Peace Arch News during a recent visit to the Good Morning Club by Rotarians.

“The program started with about 12 children registered. Now it’s up to about 39.”

“We want to say this is happening – and not only that it’s happening but that, thanks to the support of people in the community, it’s working,” he said.

“We get a grant of $2,000 from the Rotary Foundation and the whole program costs about $4,000 a year.”

Most of the supplies come from Save-On Foods, which has an ongoing agreement

with the Surrey School District for such programs.

As Rotarians – including Apel and Bonnie Goodwin, the club’s director of community services – helped pass around bowls of cereal and plates of fruit, the children happily finished their breakfasts and chattered away.

“They’re all very well behaved,” Rajogopal observed. “They help with the dishwasher and the older kids help the younger kids.”

Davison, overseeing students registered, said that some 26 had checked in that morning, but probably almost as many again would wander in before the bell for classes.

Not all of the children who attend the Good Morning Club come from economically disadvantaged or working-poor families, Davison and the Rotarians said – but it is a factor in the program’s continuing growth.

“People say there are no poor people in White Rock and South Surrey, but we know differently,” Rajogopal said.

“Some of the families here are using the food bank,” Apel said, adding that when she first started the initiative , the club consulted with Surrey School District to see where such help would be most needed.

Jessie Lee was determined the best fit, Davison explained.

“The demographic is changing, but there are still areas – like the townhouses around the old Sunnyside Elementary site – where there are a lot of low-income familes,” she said. “For other people, the situation at home is pretty stressful – just getting to work and feeding the children is a challenge. Dropping them off here is a lot less stress.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Family and friends of Hudson Brooks marched as part of a call for answers from an IIO investigation into his 2015 death. (Black Press Media files)
Inquest to look into RCMP shooting death of Hudson Brooks

Charges agains the RCMP officer who shot Brooks were stayed in 2019

A little brown bat, which has become endangered due to white-nose syndrome. (Greg Michalowski photo)
Bat sightings on Semiahmoo Peninsula spark worries of white-nose syndrome

Fungal disease is deadly for local bat populations: BC Community Bat Program

The old Rickshaw sign today, with the former restaurant location in the building behind it. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
SURREY NOW & THEN: Rickshaw sign stands as a reminder of Jung family’s restaurant days

A weekly look back at Surrey-area landmark sites and events

Mike LeSage. (submitted photo)
LeSage to head Community Policing Bureau of new Surrey police force

Second of three Deputy Chief Constables to be hired by fledgling force

White Rock Evergreen Baptist Society had 46 COVID-19 cases as of Jan. 13, according to a recent report released by the province. (Peace Arch News photo)
White Rock care home’s COVID-19 cases jump 50 per cent in a week: report

Three White Rock/South Surrey care facilities among B.C. sites with active outbreaks

An animated Gordie Hogg introduces his 'Community Connections' videos. (YouTube screenshot)
Community Connections: Gordie Hogg speaks with Scott Ackles

Former mayor, MP began posting conversations on YouTube in June

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined 2nd time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

(Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP say ice climber seriously injured after reportedly falling 12 metres near Abraham Lake

Police say man’s injuries were serious but not life-threatening

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
27-year-old taken to hospital after overnight targeted shooting in Langley

RCMP have not confirmed the incident is link to the Lower Mainland gang conflict

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Most Read