Reflections of a Past Chair

In looking back over my two terms as Chair of the Learning Foundation Board, I am first struck by how educational this experience has been. Coming in, I wasn’t aware of this region’s problems with Food Insecurity. Over the years, I have learned first-hand how the lack of access to good and nutritious food at home negatively effects our students and their families. It really doesn’t matter whether this area has had the “highest” or “second-highest” levels of Food Insecurity in the Province, as has been the case throughout my terms as Chair, the positive impacts of our Student Nutrition Programs like Food for Learning, and other programs like the Student Emergency Fund have been evident across the region.

A recent review of our Student Nutrition Programs show that in spite of decreasing enrollment and school closures the actual number of students partaking of meals and snacks, and the overall numbers of meals and snacks served continues to increase. As well, over the past few years we have seen the largest dollar amounts in the Student Emergency Fund allocated to “food for home”… to support students and families who are finding for any number of reasons that the cupboards are bare, and the Learning Foundation is there to help.

On a positive note, I have also learned how our communities find ways to rally around and come to the support of our programs and our students, and I would like to highlight just a few. This year, our Feed the Meter Campaign in Picton, Trenton and Belleville raised over $68,000, more than double previous years, thanks to the foresight of our various Municipal leaders who turned the inconvenience of ongoing downtown construction into an opportunity for downtown patrons to support Food for Learning and local students by donating parking revenues during the construction to our program. The increased level of support for the Learning Foundation also came from area businesses. Both our Student Emergency Fund and Food for Learning benefited from generous donations from Gore Mutual, Whitley Insurance, and Paul Whitley totaling $15,000. In early December, Glenn and Nancy Puchniak, the new owners of the Trenton Canadian Tire store, made an $8,000 donation to the Student Emergency Fund. At the meeting the Puchniaks attended, we discussed concerns raised by some schools about students who relied on our meals and snacks at school, but were going hungry during long weekends and school breaks because of a lack of food at home. Following the meeting, the Puchniaks made a further donation of $500 in pre-paid food cards to be distributed to students identified as facing this problem. Finally, our annual Kellogg’s donation of $50,000 which is shared with the Gleaners Food Bank this year came from Kellogg’s head office in the U.S. so came in U.S. dollars, so in fact was over $65,000.

Community support was also evident as our 2016 Annual Golf Tournament in aid of the Student Emergency Fund was the most successful yet, raising over $43,500.
We have also witnessed an incredible growth in the support for the Learning Foundation within the “school community” of the Hasting and Prince Edward District School Board. Our Holiday Catalogue, that offers a full array of ways to support all of our programs, raised almost $42,000 which was double from last-years catalogue, and a great deal of this came from school and Board staff, at all levels. However to me, the most impressive example of the Board’s approach of “Growing with Character” has been embodied in the “Dance your Heart Out” initiative. The intention of this initiative was to bring schools together as a system to raise money to support the Student Emergency Fund. I want to recognize the collaborative efforts of Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board Principals, teachers, Educational Assistants, secretaries, custodians, School Councils, volunteers, parents and students for their kindness, commitment and generosity. As I write this, over $25,500 has been raised.

As I look forward to my continued work with the Board and on various committees, I am confident that the Learning Foundation will continue meet the needs of our students, expanding our programs and services as needs be, because of the continued and growing support from our partners and our communities.

Geoffrey Cudmore, Past-Chair
The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation

The Story of J

I wanted to share a little about needs of students in the communities that we serve. Their needs are typically not sudden and not the result of a disaster or huge life-changing event. Our families live, what I describe as “very close to the edge”. This is not just when it comes to finances. They are “close to the edge” with their physical, emotional and mental health as well. Stress that comes from everyday living is often enough to cause a crisis. We see this every day in our breakfast and lunch program. Families struggle to put food on the table and in lunch bags on a daily basis. And this is just one example.Our families are “close enough to the edge” financially, that any unplanned need will cause a disruption. For example, an unexpected cold snap that causes a greater hydro bill or the need for a new battery in the car will put a family in need.

Simply put, the HPELF recognizes that these types of needs exist and responds to these needs in our communities. It works because we, the school staff, often see the needs of our students very quickly and the HPELF gives us access to an effective support structure. With the support of the HPELF we have been able to help families with food, clothing, medicine and field trips just to name a few things.

My favourite story is J’s glasses. J is a struggling learner. School staff has been working for years to support him and through a special needs assessment we determined that he may need glasses. After an eye test, it was shown that J’s eyesight was a significant impairment to his learning. He required special glasses that would allow him to effectively see written material. J lives with his mother who is unable to work. He is not supported by his father. She fought back the tears when she came to tell us that she had ordered his new glasses but that it would probably take her several months to pay for them.

Through the hard work of the HPELF, we were able to support the purchase of J’s glasses. Today J is sitting in his class, engaged in learning. The biggest difference between the HPELF and other charities is that once we, the school, recognize the need, we don’t have to “jump through hoops”. We simply identify the need and we can act. So many families in Hastings and Prince Edward live ‘on the edge’. We are a better community because we can offer the supports to our families.

Paul Pickard, Elementary Principal
The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

Our Impact Across South East Ontario


Meals Served

Students Served


Volunteer Hours

In-Kind Donations Received

Program Sites (Hastings through to Lanark Counties)


Did you know?

The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation is the ‘Lead Agency’ for Student Nutrition Programs in South East Ontario. In this role, The Learning Foundation receives 15% of Student Nutrition Program costs from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services to provide programs from Hastings through to Lanark counties. The Learning Foundation works with three local Community Partnership Committees to deliver the student nutrition programs at the local level. One of our greatest challenges is to raise the funds to operate the 540 student nutrition programs that provided 2,491,743 meals and snacks to the 36,764 students in our South East region last year!

The three local partnerships that deliver student nutrition programs in South East Ontario are:

  1. Food for Thought addresses the needs of hungry children in Lanark County. Last year Food for Thought provided over 460,000 meals and snacks to nearly 7000 students! Food for Thought encourages and assists schools with grant applications, building relationships with businesses, community groups, volunteers and provides financial support to ensure the success of the programs. The enthusiasm and participation of many play an essential role in making Food for Thought a success!
  2. The Food Sharing Project, which provides student nutrition programs to students within Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington uses a successful food hub model. The Food Sharing Project works with local School Boards, the Food Bank and many community groups, businesses, service clubs, and individuals to feed children in schools. They fed over 14,000 students 964,058 meals and snacks in 2015-2016.
  3. Food for Learning offers student nutrition programs throughout Hastings and Prince Edward counties. Food for Learning provides support to schools in various way – funding for food, supplies and equipment for student nutrition programs; funds for special projects, funding for summer programs and more. Together with the help of many dedicated volunteers Food for Learning provided over 1 million meals and snacks to over 15,000 students ensuring everyone has a ‘healthy start for a healthy mind!’

Student nutrition programs are important because research shows that children and youth who receive regular, healthy meals and snacks at school are: more alert, pay more attention, do better in school, are healthier, more cooperative and disciplined. When a student arrives at school hungry and participates in a student nutrition program, they will maximize their learning potential through the school day. We know that students in our area arrive
at school hungry for a variety of reasons – poverty, rushed mornings, long bus rides, etc. When we asked students why they attend a student nutrition program, these were some of their answers:

“My mom doesn’t have a lot of money and I forget to eat through the day we don’t have a lot. – Grade 12, “Mom doesn’t feed me breakfast” – Grade 2, “The food is safe” – Grade 4, “If I walk to school I need more energy so I have breakfast at school” – Grade 5 “My mom doesn’t have enough money and we don’t have a lot of food at my house” – Grade 5, “I never get to eat breakfast in the morning because it takes a long time to get ready” – Grade 4.

Regardless of the reason, we aim to minimize the hunger faced by children and youth in our community. We believe when we fuel our students with nutritious food, we fuel their focus!

Why do Student Nurition Programs follow
Nutrition Guidelines

Have you ever skipped breakfast because there was no time before work, maybe you had a deadline to meet so you did not stop to take a lunch break or perhaps you ate a food option that was not very nutritious? How did it make you feel throughout the day, you likely ran out of energy, motivation, consultation or experienced a ‘sugar’ crash? Children and youth experience this everyday at school when they do not have a proper start to their day! This is why we follow student nutrition guidelines, to make sure the proper, nutrition food is being served!

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services created student nutrition guidelines that set the standard for all programs across the province. These guidelines help promote lifelong healthy eating habits for students who attend a program by providing food of high nutrition standards.

According to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services “the nutrition guidelines will help program coordinators create a food environment where all children and youth can take part, shop for and select the best available foods with the most nutritional value; handle, store and prepare foods safely; and create simple menus for nutritious breakfasts, morning meals, lunches, and snacks for children and youth.”

Following the nutrition guidelines can have a positive impact on the growth and development in childhood, contribute to better learning in schools and directly influence students’ health.

Sources: Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines, Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2016).

“The Food For Learning program has a huge impact on our school. It provides students with daily opportunities to have breakfast, lunch and snacks. All students have access to these three programs every day. We also provide our Kindergar ten students with their own breakfast upon entering their classrooms in the morning. Having our Breakfast program allows students to have a nutritious breakfast, while socializing and building a positive school community. Prince of Wales also provides a bowl of fresh apples from our local orchard for each classroom. These apples are included with the snack bins, and students can access these apples before, during and after school. Providing these programs help students to focus, students are more settled and they are happier.”
– Prince of Wales Public School

Students Say

When asked ‘Why you come to this program’, these are some responses given from local students.

“I like fruit and vegetables and they have good fruit and vegetables”
-Grade 4

“Sometimes my stomach hurts because I’m hungry”
-Grade 5

“I am a growing boy and I am hungry”
-Grade 8

“I come to the program because sometimes I forget to pack a lunch or my mom has no money to buy from the grocery store. It is important to me because if I forget to pack a lunch the program is there for me”
-Grade 6

“My mom works early and I get dropped off early. Sometimes I don’t get breakfast at home”
-Grade 2

“It is important to eat healthy so you don’t feel like death”
-Grade 12

“Because I am hungry and my dad doesn’t have any food for breakfast”
-Grade 4

“For the company”
-Grade 10

This is the sixth year for our Prom Project event!

Prom Project has been incredibly successful, and 1000s of students’ have received gently used formal wear, and have gone to their prom and graduation events. The goal of Prom Project is to assist students facing socioeconomic challenges in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties by providing them with gently used formal wear. The campaign is in addition to what’s currently being provided through The Learning Foundation’s Student Emergency Fund.

The objective of the Student Emergency Fund is to give immediate assistance to Students, and perhaps their families, by providing financial aid and/or gift-in-kind support. This funding could be used to purchase items such as eyeglasses, EpiPens, medical supplies, food and clothing, transportation, to subsidize field trips, or to assist with additional financial needs that result from family crises (fire, flood, layoffs, illness, ect.)

Prom Project supports both elementary and secondary school aged students. The events provide Hastings and Prince Edward counties students with the opportunity to select formal wear, free of charge, to attend their formals and graduation ceremonies. Prom Project commemorates the achievements of students who have overcome adversity, and helps them celebrate in style. Our sponsors of Prom Project, they deserve the recognition. The campaign requires ‘hands on’ work, and not only do our sponsors support us with gift in kind, and cash donations, but they also volunteer their time.

If you’ve donated your formal wear to Prom Project, thank-you! You’ve made a difference in someone’s life!

Making A Difference In ‘The North’

The HPELF makes a difference for students in the Northern School group. Through your support we are able to assist students and their families to overcome barriers and see success at school. With Learning Foundation funding, programs and initiatives we are able to provide supports that can often be major game chargers in the lives of our school community families. Our families are often left in positions where they have to make choices between heat, hydro or groceries and prescription drugs or eye glasses. As school administrators knowing that we have your support as we help our families make a difference. Many of our families struggle with day to day challenges we have never experienced and stressers we cannot relate to directly. We are able to help students feel included and participate in activities which their peers take for granted.

The Food for Learning program ensures our students have a good breakfast daily. At York River this means we are feeding approximately 70-80 students each and every morning with a hot breakfast. Our families rely on our breakfast program to help them ensure that their children are well fed. The Food for Learning program also means we are able to have snacks available for students who have no lunch or are still hungry after they have finished their lunch. We are able to have fresh fruit and granola bars available for students throughout the day. This September, with you support, we were able to provide a number of students with backpacks and school supplies to start their year off on the right foot! The popular and successful Prom Project ensures that all our students have appropriate clothing for their graduation ceremonies whether from Grade 8 to 9 or from Grade 12 and for their high school prom.

Your support is necessary for our school communities in the North. Whether it means shoes or winter boots for a primary student, help with funding for necessary prescription drugs or medicated shampoo for pediculosis treatment, clothes for rapidly growing junior students or needed eye glasses for an intermediate student. There have been times we have relied on the Learning Foundation to help us purchase gas cards so that families are able to get to pediatrician or other medical appointments in Peterbrough or Belleville. For families in crisis we are able to help with grocery cards or personal hygiene products during times of transition. Your work is essential for the success of our students. Please know how much we appreciate all you do for children. Your efforts make a difference in the lives of so many.

Marion Wilson, Elementary Principal
The Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board

Thank You Students & Staff For Your Fundraising Efforts To Support The Student Emergency Fund & Dance Your Heart Out Campaign

Thanks To All Our Donors

Associate ($10,000+)
Bay-Shore Industrial Contractors Ltd.
Canadian Tire Jumpstart Charities
Dor-Ann Homes Ltd.
Dr. Edgar Barnett
Duvanco Homes
East Central Ontario Training Board
Faye Smith
Gore Mutual Insurance Company Foundation
Harmony Parent Council
Intact Foundation
Jack G. Hilton
Johannes Welsh
Leealan Holdings Ltd.
Leonard W. Black
Loyalist College
Prince Edward District Women’s Institute
Procter & Gamble
Quinte Home Builders’ Association
RBC Foundation
Reid’s Dairy
Ronald McDonald House Charities
Rotary Club of Belleville
Rotary Club of Picton
Rotary Club of Stirling
Rotary Club of Trenton
Rotary Club of Wellington
Stinson Builders Ltd.
TD Bank
TD Canada Trust
The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward
TransCanada Pipelines Inc.
Trenton Cold Storage
Wellington Women’s Half
Wilkinson & Company LLP
Wilson Controls

Colleague ($25,000+)
Bridge St. United Church Foundation
Charitable Foundation of the Ontario Grocery Industry
Dr. Elizabeth Churcher
City of Quinte West
Doug Whitley Insurance Brokers Ltd.
HAI Precision Waterjets Inc.
Hydro One Inc.
Isobel Whitley
Kiwanis Club of Belleville
Kraft Celebration Tour
Paul Whitley
Quinte Broadcasting Company
RBC Smith Falls Branch
Sandra Whitley-Russell
Trenval Business Development Corp.

Builder ($50,000+)
City of Belleville
Johnson Inc.

Partner ($100,000+)
Ameresco Canada Inc.
Classic Hits 95.5/Cool 100 Starboard Communications
John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation Inc.
Kellogg Canada Inc.
The Community Foundation of Greater Kingston

In Memory Of
Amy Jacklin
Audrey Parkhurst
Austin Chapleau
B. Radbourne
Carl Pitman
Chuck Slik
Christopher Campbell
Dorothy Blakely
Elizabeth A. Fort
Evelyn Bryant
Evelyn Burkitt
Gary Duggan
Gordon McGaughey
Harry J. Van Vlack
Jacquie Steele White
Jean Mary Hutchison
Jessica N. Murray
Joyce Sarles
Kathy Lawrie-Tyerman
Leo Logue
Marshall Dunning
Mary Elizabeth Sutherland
Nathan Hubel
Nicole Howat
Pat Malloy
Pauline Hoover
Philip Etter
Phyllis I. McGaughey
Robert Fox
Ruth Ann Cole-Cummings
Susan Strong
Sharon Gannon
William Trenear

In Honour Of
Christine Walker-Bird
Jane Hill
Larry Langdon
Susan Grav
Veronica Ford

Partners in Education
Algonquin and Lakeshore Catholic District School Board
Breakfast Clubs of Canada
Breakfast for Learning
City of Belleville
City of Quinte West
Corporation of North Hastings
County of Hastings
Hastings and Prince Edward District School Board
Hastings-Prince Edward Elementary Teachers’ Local
Hastings County Children’s Services
Loyalist College
Ministry of Children and Youth Services
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program
Quinte Mohawk School
The Corporation of the County of Prince Edward
Upper Canada Leger Centre

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