I hate to say it, but’.the new school year is just around the corner. Ack! As a mom of three, that strikes fear into my heart. That’s not because I don’t love the routine of my kids being in school (I’m a bit of a nut for routines, love how peaceful they make things in my home). It’s because I find the morning scramble to get everyone out the door with their stomachs and backpacks full, their teeth brushed and in enough time to make it before the first bell, so stressful. Moms, you know what I’m talking about, right?
That’s why a recent press release sparked my interest and put things in perspective for me. President’s Choice Children’s Charities (PCCC), which is one of Canada’s largest corporate charities and has provided more than $100 million in grants that have helped more than 1.8 million children since 1999, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The charity provides meals to children across Canada through the Breakfast for Learning program and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada. Last year alone they provided 2.5 million meals to 430,000 kids in this country. As deputy editor of Best Health magazine, I know the crucial importance of a healthy breakfast for both kids and adults. It provides the energy needed to learn, to pay attention and function well throughout the day. Your brain and body needs fuel first thing in the morning to function optimally. Not to mention that studies show eating breakfast is key to maintaining a healthy weight.
Here are some stats:
‘1 million Canadian children-that’s 1 in 6-face hunger every year.
’31 percent of elementary school students and 62 percent of secondary school students do not eat a healthy breakfast before school.
‘More than one third of parents say their child has participated in a breakfast, lunch or snack program.
‘Canada is the only G8 country without a national school-based feeding program.
PCCC also aids children with special needs by granting home and vehicle modifications that help children with physical and mental disabilities, and they provide money for children who need physical therapy. In 2013 they granted $9 million to help kids with special needs and helped 2,144 children and their families.
In honour of their 25th anniversary, PCCC has documented an unscripted look into the real mornings of families whose children have physical or developmental disabilities, and to nutrition programs that fight childhood hunger in schools across the country. The video titled Real Mornings, is available on YouTube to view and share. PCCC will donate $1 for one meal to help kids do anything for every time the video is shared, to a total of $1-million meals.
The video tells the stories of Zach, a triplet and one of five children in his family, who has cerebral palsy and requirers physical therapy; Klein, who relies on his family’s wheelchair accessible van to help him and his family go more places; and Waverly, who has Rett syndrome, which limits her ability to communicate and she requires a custom tablet app and training to help give her a voice.
It puts my mornings into perspective. I can feed my children and ensure they go to school ready to learn, but I’m so glad to know that there is help out there if that ever changes. In my sons’ schools they ask for donations to their "snack baskets" so that kids who might need something in the morning can eat a granola bar, an apple or muffin. I’ll be more conscious this year of contributing to that initiative. I also can’t imagine how moms and dads of children who have physical and mental disabilities cope in their morning scramble. I’m in awe of those parents.
To support the programs, check out the video and share it. Go to YouTube and search "Real Mornings" and share it using the hashtag #pccchelpskids.
-Jennifer Walker, deputy editor