What is Eat Well to Excel?

Eat Well to Excel, the Simcoe County Nutrition Program for School-Age Children is the name of the local 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.

What is the role of the EWTE local partnership committee?

cEWTE is the name of the EWTE local partnership committee, made up of representatives from community partners and organizations across Simcoe County. Partner agencies include United Way Simcoe Muskoka, Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board, Simcoe County District School Board, and Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit.

The EWTE local partnership 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 local partnership committee chairperson or designate participates in regional meetings with the Chairpersons from across Central East to develop regional program policies and criteria for grant applications.

What is a Student Nutrition Program (SNP)?

Student Nutrition Programs look different in every school.  Elementary or Secondary schools in Ontario can offer breakfast programs, morning meal programs, snack or lunch programs (no more than 2 programs are funded per school). These programs are run mostly by volunteers, such as parents, teachers and school staff.

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.

Program guidelines and nutrition guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) 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 selection criteria for offering nutritious foods and beverages that represent the healthiest options.

Where does the EWTE Funding come from?

The Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) 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 Peterborough Child & Family Centres (PCFC) in two installments; the first in September and the second in January.

MCCSS 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. MCCSS occasionally provides additional equipment and appliance funding that schools/programs can access upon request through the EWTE community development coordinators.

How is it determined how much money each school will receive?

Schools receive funding based on the number and type of meal they are serving. Meals that include three or more food groups (breakfast, morning meal, or lunch) receive more funding than snacks which include only two food groups.

Are there other sources of funding available to schools/programs?

local EWTE programs have access to other sources of funding including larger funding organizations, grants and local fundraising efforts.

Breakfast Clubs of Canada
For 20 years, Breakfast Club of Canada (BCC) has been nourishing children’s potential by making sure as many of them as possible have access to a healthy morning meal before school, in an environment that allows their self-esteem to grow and flourish. But the Club is much more than a breakfast program: we take a broader approach that promotes the core values of engagement, enrichment and empowerment, and we team up with communities and local partners to develop solutions adapted to their specific needs. Operating from coast to coast, Breakfast Club of Canada helps feed 150,000 students every day in 1,328 schools. Breakfast Club of Canada supports schools in Simcoe County with food donations and grants through the Lead Agency Peterborough Child & Family Centres (PCFC).

The Grocery Foundation
The Grocery Foundation began 35 years ago when a handful of Ontario grocery leaders decided it was time for their industry to make a meaningful difference in the lives of Ontario children who needed a hand-up in life. Out of that small group of retailers, manufacturers and food brokers grew an industry-wide charitable foundation called The Grocery Foundation. Since 1979, The Grocery Foundation has raised in excess of $80 million to provide a better life for our challenged children, and to answer many other community needs.  The Grocery Foundation supports schools in Simcoe County through proceeds from its Toonies for Tummies Campaign, a food voucher program, and grants. This funding flows through PCFC.

President’s Choice Children’s Charity
President’s Choice Children’s Charity (PCCC) is the fundraising arm of the Loblaw’s Corporation.  They are committed to the health and wellness of young Canadians, aiming to help children who are affected by physical or developmental disabilities, as well as fight childhood hunger through the support of nutrition programs. They support school-based breakfast, lunch and snack programs in every province and territory. They are committed to helping children across Canada realize their full potential in life by ensuring they attend school well-nourished and ready to learn.  Schools access funding by applying directly to PCCC.

Grants and Fundraising
EWTE community development 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 community development 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 EWTE community development coordinator.

Who can access Student Nutrition Programs?

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 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.
  • They take a school bus and do not have time to eat breakfast.
Who is the lead agency?

cThe Peterborough Child and Family Centre (PCFC) was selected by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) 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. Although financially administered by the PCFC, each local nutrition program is uniquely developed and run by the school community to best suit its students needs.

The PCFC contracts one or two community development coordinators (depending on regional size) to support the local Student Nutrition Programs in each region.

Eat Well to Excel has 2 community development coordinators that sit on the EWTE local partnership committee and report directly to PCFC.

What is the role of the EWTE community development coordinators?

The EWTE coordinators help schools start up new SNPs by consulting with school administrators 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 PCFC 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 EWTE local partnership committee.

What if our school has money leftover at the end of the year?
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 EWTE community development coordinator.
What is the role of volunteers?

There are over 500 volunteers in schools supporting SNPs throughout Simcoe County. The success of the EWTE programs is due to 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 as per school board policies. Volunteer roles may include: grocery shopping, preparing foods, refilling bins, clean-up, reporting to Coordinators.

What role does United Way Simcoe Muskoka play with Eat Well to Excel?

As a registered Canadian charity, UWSM provides financial management and oversight 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. The United Way Simcoe Muskoka also participates as a partner on the EWTE local partnership committee.

When would schools access a public health professional for assistance with their program?

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 www.simcoemuskokahealth.org