Caring for Your Community
Nutrition for Learning began as a loosely knit group of programs devoted to providing breakfast/snacks to school-aged children in Waterloo Region. The programs ranged from teachers providing snacks from the bottom of desk drawers, to churches providing daily breakfast for children who visited before school hours.
In 1994, the Food Securities Coalition of Waterloo identified a significant number of children who were attending school without proper nutrition. The Waterloo Regional Health Department, teachers and others recognized a need for a coordinated effort to develop and promote viable breakfast/snack programs. The Good Food Box and Healthy Snacks provided short-term solutions – but these were neither coordinated nor readily known among all schools within the region.
The Community Health Department established connections among existing programs and developed ideas for starting and sustaining breakfast/snack programs. Staff members, Carol Desmeules and Ruth Dyck were instrumental in publishing menu ideas, food safety information and volunteer co-ordination. Support was provided through the Food Securities Coalition with money earmarked through the Canadian Living Foundation. The health unit provided office space, a computer and some staff support time to develop this idea further.
In 1997, the group applied for and received charitable status and Nutrition for Learning was born. Support and resources provided by the Waterloo Regional Community Health Department included: program support, aid in grant applications, nutrition information, and volunteer management.
Six programs grew to 40 – all within a few short years. Nutrition for Learning needing a strategic plan, looked at its mandate, funding, sponsors, supporters and long range plans. The Board also recognized that the space at the health unit was too small. Nutrition for Learning moved to a house on Park Street, in Kitchener, in December 1998, before moving to St. Joseph’s School on Courtland Avenue in January 2006.
In the fall of 2010, the BLM Transportation Group donated office and warehouse space in Ayr to Nutrition for Learning. Now the offices are centrally located between Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge. We have the opportunity to receive large donations of food to distribute to the programs across Waterloo Region.
Heffner Toyota donated the use of a van allowing Nutrition for Learning to deal with the logistics of food delivered to the programs.
In 2012, Nutrition for Learning celebrates 15 years of providing nutritious food to students in Waterloo Region to enhance their ability to learn and we are very thankful for your part of our legacy.
To enhance the ability to learn by insuring that each student attends school well nourished.
WHAT WE DO
We support community based nutrition programs committed to improving the learning capacity, health and well-being of children and youth in Waterloo Region. Research has proven that students coming to school hungry don’t perform well in the classroom, have difficulty concentrating, display behavioral problems, are less alert and are often lethargic. Our programs impact the physical, cognitive, behavioral and academic needs of children and youth in Waterloo Region
Nutrition for Learning currently supports over 130 community based breakfast, morning meal and lunch programs impacting approximately 9,000 children daily. Over 600 dedicated volunteers coordinate student nutrition programs in elementary and secondary schools throughout Waterloo Region.
Charity Number 880648142RR0001