Victory School’s Breakfast Program began about 14 years ago under the direction of Phyllis Federico. Many of Federico’s original volunteers still come and help out on a regular basis.
Rotary breakfast club.
The Rotary crew assists with the Breakfast Club at Victory School the second, third and fifth Thursdays of each month. Pictured above, back row from left, Sue Whitley, Karen Cox, Don Brickett, Peter Daleman, Linda Chase, and supervisor/teacher coordinator of the program Sheena Calibani. Front, from left, Agnes Wong, Kerri Mutrie, June Brooks, Tom Traversy and eager breakfast customers. Absent, John Becker.
Victory relies on government grants and the generosity of community members to fund the breakfast program. The program runs year round serving about 70 students daily. Supervisor/teacher Sheena Calibani says, “Victory is very fortunate to have a wonderful group of volunteers who prepare and serve the students. Teachers, educational assistants and even the principal can be seen cooking and serving food regularly.”
The menu varies from day to day: Monday, toast, and/or cereal; Tuesday, pancake and peameal bacon; Wednesday, cheese melts; Thursday, French toast; and Friday, scrambled eggs and hash browns.
Additionally, the children are offered fruit cups and/or applesauce as well as hot chocolate and juice.
The breakfast club is open to all students of Victory School (breakfast is also served to former Victory students before they catch the bus to William Beatty or Parry Sound High School) This is a non-judgmental program and it is free. For many students, it provides an opportunity to interact with their peers in a non-academic setting. Many children enjoy coming once or twice a week. Their parents are so appreciative that they often send in boxes of cereal or cans of juice.
For children without brothers and sisters at home in the morning this is a chance for them to enjoy the company of other children in a different venue.
Children of all economic situations are encouraged to attend. Stigmas are erased when all children are welcome and encouraged to eat breakfast together. For some children this is the most important and meaningful part of their day food, friendship and fun.
In 2005 Calibani approached the Rotary Club of Parry Sound asking them to supply the staples that are needed throughout the year. A sign-up sheet was put up at the weekly Rotary meeting and each member committed to bringing in an item e.g. a year’s supply of cinnamon, aluminum foil, vanilla etc. A few Rotarians saw this as an opportunity for hands on community involvement and the Rotary Breakfast Bunch came into being, picking up the spatula on the second, third and fifth Thursdays of every month.
This group of five or six Rotarians are at the school by 7:30 a.m. to prepare the juice, hot chocolate and French toast (and clean up). Many mornings it’s a toss-up as to who derives the most benefit - the students or the Rotarians. Over the years we’ve enjoyed the contact with the children and the staff and look forward to this time of fellowship. It’s a win- win situation.