The Parent’s Advisory Council (PAC) of Gabriola Elementary School (GES) struck a committee Sept. 17 to put together a proposal on how a future universal lunch program might work.
PAC President Iyeshka Farmer said Tuesday that at Monday’s PAC meeting, attendees explored a number of possibilities for the program, including a school program run by staff, having food delivered by an outside agency, or making the program into a PAC fundraiser.
Farmer said Jack and Marianne Mattes and Penny White all volunteered to be on the committee.
As previously reported, the lunch program was cancelled by School District 68 at the end of last term, after their largest donor said they could no longer provide their usual $10,000 towards the program. Exiting Principal Tricia MacKay said she was concerned that some funders didn’t realise that the program served all the children in the school not just those identified as needy.
MacKay also said that any future fundraising for the program had to first be cleared with administration.
PAC members said they would make the universal nature of the program clear in future fundraising, but learned at the end of last school year that the program had been cancelled.
Former PAC President Heather Anfossie said Wednesday that PAC’s goal at the Sept. 17 meeting was to get the school lunch program moving forward again. She said the new committee has been encouraged to present a proposal, first to new Principal Eileen Jubinville, and then to the district, on how the lunch program might be run, but that it is clear it can’t be run as it was in the past.
Reached for comment, Jubinville said currently one of the recess supervisors spends a few minutes before recess making up bagged lunches, and then spends about 10 minutes after recess supervising their distribution. She said the lunch bags are also available at the school office, and the intention is to make food easy to access without bringing attention to who is accessing it.
Jubinville said the latter intention was in response to concerns raised by parents that those who are getting food from school are not singled out. She said the school is making it easy for students to access the lunches to avoid any embarrassment. She said so far there has been no negative feedback about this system from students or teachers.
Bowls of fruit are also available, Jubinville said, in part because the school participates in a fruit and vegetable program through which fresh produce is delivered to the school every three weeks or so.
Jubinville had no comment when asked if the school and district are open to moving from the lunch system they have now back to a more universal format.
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