Frequently Asked Questions

Eat Well to Excel, the Simcoe County Nutrition Program for School-Age Children is the name of thelocal Student Nutrition Program in Simcoe County. EWTE is a non-profit community partnership that supports volunteer run Student Nutrition Programs in over 185 schools/programs (including elementary and secondary schools, learning centres and alternative programs) in Simcoe County. The School Boards that are supported by EWTE include Simcoe County District School Board, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Conseil Scolaire de District Catholique Centre Sud, Conseil Scolaire Viamonde, and Chippewas of Rama First Nation.
Student Nutrition Programs look different in every school. The SNP provides funding to breakfast, lunch and snack programs across Ontario for elementary and secondary students. These programs are developed by schools and community agencies to meet local needs and are run mostly by volunteers, such as parents, teachers and school staff.

Program guidelines and nutrition guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services in collaboration with the Ministries of Education and Health, to establish a province-wide standard for program delivery, and provide local communities with a framework to assist in meeting the nutrition needs of children and youth. The SNP Nutrition Guidelines outline serving size and selection criteria required for selecting nutritious foods and beverages for student nutrition programs.

They also provide the following direction for programs:

  • Vegetables and/or fruit will be offered with every meal and/or snack. Choose Ontario grown and/or produced foods when available and practical. Celebrate cultural diversity by serving healthy foods from different cultures.
  • A snack contains at least one serving from a minimum of two food groups of Canada’s Food Guide with at least one serving from the Vegetables and Fruit food group. Nutritional value of a snack is improved by offering choices from three of the four food groups.
  • A meal (breakfast and lunch) contains at least one serving from a minimum of three out of the four food groups of Canada’s Food Guide with at least one serving from the Vegetables and Fruit food group and at least one serving from the Milk and Alternatives food group. Nutritional value of a meal is improved by offering choices from each of the four food groups.
  • Tap water is always available.

Schools can offer breakfast programs, morning meal programs, snack or lunch programs (no more than 2 programs are funded per school).

Breakfast: the meal is to be served before the morning bell and can be a sit down breakfast or a grab and go style.

Morning Meal: this is served after the morning bell and can be offered during nutrition breaks or recess.

Snack: this can be offered during nutrition breaks or recess. This often involves a bin of snacks offered in each classroom in elementary schools. Secondary Schools often have a bin of snacks in the main office, guidance office, library and/or other central locations.

Lunch: the meal can be a full sit down lunch or a brown bag lunch that is offered to students who do not have one.

All programs are intended to be universal (open to all students), providing all children and youth with the opportunity to participate.

The goal is to ensure that all children/youth attend school well fed and ready to learn. Here are a few of the numerous reasons why students may participate in the program:

  • They take a school bus and do not have time to eat breakfast.
  • They don’t have access to fresh fruit and vegetables at home on a regular basis.
  • Their family finances are restrictive.
  • They have low energy and don’t have enough food in their lunch.
  • They prefer to share their mealtime with their friends.

The Peterborough Family Resource Centre (PFRC) was selected by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services as the lead agency for the Central East Region. There are seven regions within Central East including Simcoe County, York Region, Durham, Northumberland, Haliburton, Peterborough, and the City of Kawartha Lakes. The PFRC contracts one or two coordinators (dependent on regional size) to support the local Student Nutrition Programs in each region.

Although administered by the Peterborough Family Resource Centre, each local SNP is uniquely developed and run by the school community to best suit its students’ needs.

Eat Well to Excel has 2 coordinators that sit on the EWTE Local Partnership Committee and report directly to PFRC. Nicole Hawke ( is the Simcoe North Coordinator and Karen Martin ( is the Simcoe South Coordinator.

The EWTE coordinators help schools start up new SNPs by consulting with school officials and volunteers and applying for funding.

Once a program is in place, the Coordinator collects monthly stats to ensure programs align with the approved funding. The required stats include how many students are accessing the programs, how many days the programs are being offered, etc. The stats must be submitted to PFRC by the Coordinator monthly. Coordinators also retain school bi-annual financial records.

Coordinators are available as a resource to the school programs to help build local community capacity to support program sustainability and/or respond to any questions or concerns (i.e. engage volunteers, conduct fundraising, develop resources, provide networking opportunities and enhance partnerships, support changes to the programs, discuss financial concerns , and support requests for appliances or equipment, etc.)Coordinators are members of the Local Partnership Committee representing PFRC and the MCYS as the funder.

EWTE is the name of the Local Partnership Committee, made up of representatives from community and partner agencies across Simcoe County. Partner agencies include United Way Greater Simcoe County, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Simcoe County District School Board, and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The EWTE committee ensures the sustainability of local programs through in-kind donations, awareness and marketing, fundraising efforts and partnership development with regional and local sponsors. The committee is linked with the local health unit for nutrition education and consultation. The EWTE committee Chair or designate participates in regional meetings with the Chairs from across Central East to develop regional program policies and criteria for grant applications.

The Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS) provides funding for SNPs across Ontario. The funding is to help ensure that all students are well nourished and ready to learn. Cheques are issued from the PFRC in two installments; the first in September and the second in January.

MCYS funding is to be considered base funding and is intended to cover only 10% of the program costs. Schools/programs are encouraged to find other sources of funding, including donations, sponsors, fundraising efforts, partnerships, etc. MCYS occasionally provides additional equipment and appliance funding that schools/programs can access upon request through the EWTE coordinators.

Each school receives a certain amount of money based on several factors considered in a formula. This formula was developed through a consensus-based process that involved all Local Coordinators and Local Partnerships Committee Chairs in the Central East Region.

The formula used for the 2013-2014 school year is attached. The percentages used in the formula shift each year depending on the number of applications. The percentage varies between 3-4% for Non-DES Schools and 10-11% for DES. (DES means designated schools – determined by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services based on various social and financial markers).

The dollar amounts per program are as follows:

  • Breakfast – $1.00/day per student
  • Morning Meal – $1.00/day per student
  • Lunch – $1.00/day per student
  • Snack – $.65/day per student

EWTE programs have access to other sources of funding including Breakfast for Learning (BFL), Breakfast Clubs of Canada (BCC), grants and local fundraising efforts.

Breakfast for Learning (BFL) has helped to nourish more than 2.9 million children from coast to coast in Canada, providing over 400 million meals and snacks, over the past 20 years. For more information, check out

BFL provides close to $100,000 to Simcoe County schools. EWTE coordinators support schools to access BFL funding by completing a group application process, and by completing BFL reporting requirements on behalf of the schools. Schools need to contact EWTE coordinators to be included in the group application.

Breakfast Clubs of Canada (BCC) helped close to 130,000 students have access to a nutritious breakfast each morning in 1,266 schools across Canada, during the 2011-2012 school year.

Seven schools within Simcoe County receive funding from BCC. BCC has a set of criteria from which they choose schools to fund; they also offer coupons from businesses across Canada to BCC funded schools. For more information, check out

Grants and Fundraising

EWTE coordinators apply for grants and organize/host fundraising opportunities to support local programs. These funds are raised as discretionary funds to help provide schools with emergency funding for food, equipment or appliances as identified by individual schools/programs. If schools have a need for extra funds, equipment or appliances, they should contact their EWTE coordinator to be added to a list for consideration when decisions are made. The EWTE Local Partnership Committee determines how and when the funds will be distributed among the various program requests.

Schools can also access their own grants or do their own fundraising to support their program(s). Some schools include EWTE as a recipient of some fundraising money from their school fundraising plans (i.e. dress down days, dance-a-thons, loose change donation jars, etc). Other schools have relationships with local businesses or banks to receive donations of food, money or staff time to volunteer with the programs. For more suggestions or assistance, please contact your local EWTE coordinator.

There are occasionally a few schools that have money left over at the end of the school year. This money cannot be returned to EWTE, transferred to another school or used for another purpose. It is suggested that the budget for the school program be reviewed ongoing. To ensure complete use of funds, consider adding more selection of foods to the current program, or offering a greater quantity of what is currently available. Also Consider promoting the program to the school community to increase the number of students accessing the program. This will ensure the greatest reach for those children in need of nutritious food to enhance their learning potential. If you need assistance, please contact your local EWTE Coordinator.
Eat Well to Excel has 500 volunteers in SNPs throughout Simcoe County. The success of the EWTE programs would not be what it is without the dedication and support of so many amazing volunteers. Anyone can volunteer – principals, teachers, students, parents and community members. Parents and community members require principal permission to volunteer and must have an updated criminal reference check. Volunteer roles may include: grocery shopping, preparing foods, refilling bins, clean-up, reporting to Coordinators.
The United Way Greater Simcoe County is a partner agency for EWTE. United Way is fiscally responsible for the money that is fundraised in the community (through events, Coordinators’ efforts or corporate/individual donations). United Way provides tax receipts, prepares monthly reporting, provides reimbursements for expenses, pays for items such as volunteer appreciation events, and produces cheques for schools out of the fund that is held in trust as requested by the Chair of the EWTE committee or the coordinators. The United Way Greater Simcoe County also participates as a partner on the EWTE Local Partnership committee.
Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has public health nurses and registered dietitians with a mandate to work with schools. If schools are looking for nutrition advice about what to serve in the programs, assistance with interpreting the Nutrition Guidelines or any other questions about nutrition for the school environment, public health dietitians are available for consultation. Call the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit Health Connection 705-721-7520 or 1-877-721-7520 or .

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