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OSNP Windsor-Essex Celebrates $17,000 Donation!

Four local schools to receive weekly deliveries of fresh, local food for the entire 2019.20 school year due to generous $17,000 donation from the Class Action Community Fund held at the Windsor Essex Community Foundation

Windsor, ON – The Ontario Student Nutrition Program – Windsor Essex (OSNP W/E) along with the students and staff at David Maxwell Public School were proud to welcome the media to join us in celebrating a recent $17,000 donation from the Class Action Community Fund held at the WindsorEssex Community Foundation (WECF). OSNP W/E recently pulled together a new planning group that is launching a campaign to raise $100,000 by 2022 to help alleviate the burden that local student nutrition programs face when purchasing food by centrally purchasing fresh local food at bulk prices and delivering it direct to the door of schools. The OSNP provides grants to local schools to help them operate breakfast or healthy snack programs but government funding pays for only a small portion of the cost to operate these programs, leaving busy school staff and volunteers with a big challenge to fundraise, shop and prepare food for students. The generous $17,000 donation from the WECF’s Class Action Community Fund will alleviate that stress for four local schools next year: William G. Davis Public SchoolMarlborough Public SchoolJohn Campbell Public School, and David Maxwell Public School.

OSNP FOOD DELIVERY INITIATIVES

For the past decade OSNP has been piloting initiatives to centrally purchase and deliver food direct to schools but the huge gap in available funding for the program has made this a daunting challenge. In 2018, OSNP scaled up on the launch of an 8-week school vegetable and fruit delivery program that now reaches 160 schools across the southwest region and procures over 46,000 daily pieces of produce often purchased from local farmers. The group hopes to eventually expand this program so that they can support more schools with food deliveries during the 8-week period and eventually on a year round basis but funding continues to be a barrier.

THE IMPACT OF THE WINDSORESSEX COMMUNITY FOUNDATION DONATION

The generous $17,000 donation from the Class Action Community Fund at the WECF offers OSNP a unique opportunity to test the cost and logistics attached to purchasing and delivering food for the entire 2019.20 school year in four local schools: William G Davis Public School, Marlborough Public School, John Campbell Public School, and David Maxwell Public School. OSNP and partners hope the weekly deliveries will alleviate some of the workload these four local schools may have when shopping and fundraising for their student nutrition programs. The group also hopes to work with a new committee of grass roots representatives such as parents, teachers and students who will try to ensure sustainability of the food deliveries in future years and who will work together with the four schools to try and mobilize even greater connections between food and learning at the schools through activities such as cooking, gardening, integrating food in the classroom curriculum and engaging students in creative work around the food being delivered!

LOCAL OSNP ADOPT A PROGRAM CAMPAIGN GOAL TO RAISE $100,000 BY 2022

A local planning committee consisting of representatives from all local school boards, The Victorian Order of Nurses – Windsor-Essex Site (VON), The Windsor Essex County Health Unit and other community supporters are working together to raise $100,000 so that every student in Windsor-Essex can have access to the 8-week OSNP school Vegetable and Fruit Delivery Program by 2022! They are launching an Adopt a Program Campaign and are seeking donations of $1,000 to bring the program to one local school. To date, groups like Ronna Hope Warsh Consulting, Tepperman’s, SUNSET Produce, Windsor Professional Firefighters Association, and others have stepped up to support the campaign. OSNP is holding a breakfast event on October 17th to formally celebrate early supporters and to gain attention around their $100,000 fundraising target. 

WHY DO WE NEED STUDENT NUTRITION PROGRAMS?

A recent UNICEF report ranked Canada 38th out of 42 countries in terms of children’s access to nutritious food and a study published earlier in the school year shows that Canadian children eat less healthy food at school than at home. “The evidence is startling”, says OSNP Program Manager Stephanie Segave.

One-third of students in elementary schools and two-thirds of students in secondary schools do not eat a nutritious breakfast before school, undermining their health and academic potential. School food programs, which only reach one million of Canada’s five million school children, have shown to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables, improve physical and mental health, decrease behavioural and emotional problems, and improve educational outcomes.

“Despite all of the positive impacts associated with school food programs, we still do not have the resources to offer direct food deliveries to schools” says Segave. “Children spend more than half their waking hours in schools, so it is an excellent place to help expose them to healthier eating”.

A RECIPE FOR GOOD HEALTH:

The VON has partnered with the University of Windsor, the University of Western Ontario and other partners to evaluate the impact of various healthy school food delivery programs they support. These evaluations have shown promising results that offering students fruits and vegetables in the classroom can increase students overall consumption as well as their self-reported liking of some fruits and vegetables served. OSNP’s Food and Logistics Coordinator, Jillian McCallum states that “we believe that if students are offered fresh vegetables and fruit in the classroom from JK to grade 12 that this will have a positive impact on their short and long term dietary habits”.

ABOUT THE WECF

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation, originally founded in 1983 as Heritage Windsor, is a perpetual community trust for philanthropic purposes. It exists to manage donors’ legacy funds and make grants to support local community programs. Through grant making activities, the WECF is able to establish partnerships to assist a broad range of community organizations.