Making Futures Bright

Help us ensure students have what they need to succeed.

If we have not already met in person, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Vicky Struthers. I’m a wife, a busy mother of a beautiful two-year-old daughter, and the Program Coordinator with the Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation.

Imagine for a moment you are 12 years old, and homeless. It isn’t a thought I share with many people, but it was my reality.

Being homeless isn’t something I really understood back then, but I do remember vividly how it made me feel. Looking back, I know that being homeless is the reason I’m so passionate about what I do for a living, and it helps me understand the positive impact my work has on my community.

A few weeks ago, I was driving in the car with my two-year-old daughter, Vada. Like many of our road trips, Vada was full of questions, trying to understand the world around her. Vada was asking Mommy why she had to work, followed by at least six more why questions.

It wasn’t until I was 34 years old, explaining to my toddler why I am so passionate about my work that it occurred to me that although we had family and friends to take us in temporarily when we were evicted from our house – we were homeless. I remember the eviction, the packing, the uncertainty, but most of all, I remember how it made me feel.

At only 12, I was scared, I was sad and for the first time in my life, I had an uneasy feeling. I didn’t have my normal comfort and stability.

But what I did have, was a school breakfast program. It was my safe place. It was the place I could go that had friendly smiles, a nutritious meal and friendships that helped me through one of the most difficult times in my life.

Today, I often wonder how my experience as a child would have been different if I had access to all the programs that are made possible because of donors like you.

Because of your donations, local school breakfast programs have evolved into the Food for Learning programs we see in schools today. Last year, Food for Learning provided over 1.4 million snacks and meals to local students. In fact, Food for Learning is accessed by an average of over 7,000 local students each day!

The gift you give when you donate to the HPELF isn’t just a meal or a snack. Your donation is the giftof safety and security. Your gift is a friendly smile, a much-needed source of nutrition and friendships that can make a student’s day – and help build confidence.

When I was a child, we didn’t have the Sharing Cupboards program. But students today do. Sharing Cupboards are currently available in seven local schools, which includes all secondary schools in HPEDSB, to provide a supply of nutritious food and household items for students to take home. Eventually, with the support of donors, we would like to expand this program.

Another service that I wish was available to me as my family struggled with homelessness and uncertainty was the Student Emergency Fund. It is a program that I am personally very proud of. It is accessible to children and their families when they need us the most, in emergency situations that are unexpected, unforeseen, and require immediate action so students can continue to fully participate in their learning.

Please continue your support today to make a real and lasting impact in the lives of students. I promise you that your generous donation will have a lasting affect on students. It will help to define who they become, and what they are able to achieve.

During the holiday season I will get to spend time with my family and friends. I will enjoy the comfort of a warm home, the fun of holiday traditions and the excitement of a daughter as she experiences the joy of living in a home that is safe and loving.

While I am with my family and friends over the holidays, I will feel extra thankful. I will be grateful for the work that I do, and the impact that my work has on students and their futures.

Thank you so much for your generous support of the HPELF, for being the hope and strength for students in situations like I was.

Vicky Struthers
Program Coordinator, Wife and Mother

P.S You can make a lasting impact on the life of a student. Your gift can help ensure that local children have the food, security, and the support they need to grow and learn.