Caring Fund: Pandemic Priorities

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   “As grandparents, we recognize the importance that every child has an equal opportunity within
xxx.   system. The creation 
of the Caring Fund helps ensure that this can happen.”               Rob and Cathy Taylor

For 30 years the Foundation for Education has provided outstanding enrichment opportunities for local Huron and Perth students through a wide variety of arts and life skill-based workshops that demonstrate creativity, innovation, empowerment, equity and inclusion.

Now, through the newly formed Caring Fund, the Foundation has expanded its focus to build a trust that provides support to students who lack access to basic necessities. In the midst of a world-wide pandemic, local educators and support staff are managing unprecedented demands as they work to meet the needs of the curriculum while juggling food insecurity and student well-being on a reduced budget.   These folks need our help.  

The Breakfast Club of Canada reports a current crisis with 1 in 3 children going to school on an empty stomach.   The inadequate access to food due to financial constraints is a serious problem right across Canada, negatively impacting physical, mental and social health.    

Through School Councils, educators and community volunteers here in Huron and Perth Counties have served to provide Nutrition Programs to ensure that every child arrives in class well nourished and ready to learn.  

However, this year the programs are overburdened due to the pandemic.   Costs are rising as the Student Nutrition Programs have both an increased need and increased costs;  pandemic protocols require additional individual packaging; volunteers that operated the program are restricted access to the schools; and in-school fundraisers like pizza and hotdog days (that supported these programs in the past) are not allowed during these challenging times.

It’s a simple equation: healthy breakfast, snack and lunch programs that offer nutritious foods and teach healthy habits make a difference in a student’s ability to learn and succeed.

Elsewhere in the classrooms, educators are working to maintain literacy levels by providing paper copies of books that students can keep at home, limiting items and articles being carried  between school and home.   These at-home reading programs are vital to enhance and support developing literacy skills in young readers.   All books brought back into a school need to be quarantined for 72 hours making this type of program very challenging for the hundreds of students across two Counties.

Another challenge every day for students? Good quality water bottles are in demand as drinking fountains are no longer available.   For many lower-income families, this is an added burden.  Also, it has been proven that dehydrated students have a lack of focus, are tired, and aren’t as alert as they should be.    Students staying well hydrated in classes improve their grades by showing a better performance on both tests and in class projects.  And, by discouraging single use plastic bottles we encourage environmentally responsible action to reduce the amounts of plastic that are jeopardizing to our planet

Finally, in terms of the wellness one principal said “the kids just need something to look forward to.”    All sports and extracurriculars, concerts, field trips and visiting artists or workshops – like the ones the Foundation provides – have been eliminated during the pandemic.  These are the activities that often keep children motivated and engaged in school life.   “They are learning to be patient, and to be kind … and they are tremendously resilient, but they do need something to look forward to.”

How can the Caring Fund help?

Principals submit an application to the Foundation for Education for financial support for the urgent needs of students in their schools.  

For donors to the Caring Fund financial contributions are fully tax creditable and will directly help affected students in Avon Maitland schools.   

Levels of Giving

  • $1000:   A Champion of Food Security in our Schools!  As a “Security” Guard you’re helping to nourish the minds and bodies of our youth.  Your gift will assist the schools through their Student Nutrition Programs.
  • $750:  A Foundation Advocate of Literacy programs in our schools.   Your gift will support supplies for young readers.
  • $500:  A Foundation Cheerleader. Giving students “Something to look forward to” is a special gift that will support a “learning enhancement” activity, like an artist or a leader from a conservation area leading an in-class workshop.
  • $200:   Foundation Heros provide nutritious snacks for five students for a week; 
  • $100:   Foundation Friends provide up to 10 Refillable Water Bottles, providing students safe access to this vital resource.
  • $____ (your financial gift) will be directed to the Caring Fund to support Student Nutrition Programs.

Thank you for your consideration.   Together we can ensure our kids grow up healthy and strong.  

Warm regards,
                  

Ryan Erb                                                  Karen Stewart
Chair, Board of Directors                     Interim Executive Director