A program that provides Mount Royal Collegiate students with nutritious food, teaches valuable life skills, and works to empower students and staff is receiving a $10,000 boost.
Mount Royal is one of 10 Saskatchewan schools to receive funds through the Mosaic Extreme Makeover Challenge. The challenge, sponsored by The Mosaic Company and the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA), supports schools in providing healthier environments for students.
The funds will be used to purchase new equipment and supplies to support the operation of the collegiate's universal breakfast, snack and lunch program. It will also help in a move away from single-use materials to a more environmentally friendly approach to preparing and serving food.
Principal Bernadette Laliberte said providing students with access to nutritious food is an important way in which Mount Royal works to set up students for success in the classroom, in extracurricular activities, and in their lives outside of school.
"Our students arrive at different times of the day and are moving from class to class throughout the day. Our nutrition programs are designed to be 'grab and go' with cereal, milk, yogurt and fruit, whole fruits, sandwiches and veggies," she said.
"Our program also receives support from students in our Alternative Education Work Study program. These students are trained in food-safe practices so we can create space for them to learn much-needed skills in food preparation that helps get them workplace ready."
The nutrition program at Mount Royal provides approximately 80 breakfasts and 60 lunches daily, along with 300 snacks in both the morning and afternoon.
The makeover funding will assist in providing a wider variety of food groups and nutritious options. One goal is to offer more fresh fruit and vegetables, which requires a commercial cooler for proper storage. Funds will also be used to create a better working space for students and staff, one that is stocked with the equipment and utensils that will improve the program's daily operation.
Melinda Brown, the collegiate's community coordinator, said the assistance of Mosaic and the SSBA plays an important role in supporting students and the long-term success of the nutrition program.
"Our nutrition programs are universal and open to all students. This makeover will give our program a much-needed boost in support," she said.
Brown said the program is designed to be culturally responsive and inclusive of all cultures within the collegiate's diverse community. Nutrition options are made available that are affirming to all and the universal nature of the program break down barriers.
Students play an important role in the program's success. They learn valuable skills and knowledge in food preparation and delivery, and their participation provides an opportunity to contribute to the wider school community.