BROOKDALE – The breakfast program at Cumberland North Academy has more than 2,000 reasons to smile.
The program is the direct beneficiary of a Nourish Your Roots fundraiser that saw the school connect with local producers to fill more than 200 boxes with fresh farm produce.
“It was a very good initiative,” said home and school association president Krista Smith. “It was a great school fundraiser and it was also very educational for the children because some of them were not familiar with some of the vegetables and produce. Some of them had never seen a butternut squash.”
Smith heard about the Nourish Your Roots program last year and signed up Cumberland North Academy in hopes of hosting an event this year.
Nourish Your Roots connects children and families to Nova Scotia farmers with 100 per cent of the purchase price being split between the farmers and the school with a small portion going to support Nourish Nova Scotia.
The organization works to promote healthy eating, especially among young people so they will create and champion a good food movement by learning about nutrition, cooking from scratch, planning real food meals and celebrating traditions surrounding good food.
Smith admitted to being unsure how the fundraiser would go and was amazed to discover that 271 boxes were sold.
The boxes included cabbage, a couple of different kinds of squash, a bag of apples from Malagash, carrots, parsnips, sweet potato squash, turnip, onions, beets and potatoes as well as a recipe card in each box.
The produce all came from Cumberland County farms.
“I didn’t know how well the fundraiser would go because it was $30 for a box, so I was cautious,” she said. “It was a very busy day, but it was a very good day. I was impressed with how well it went.”
Smith said many families purchased the boxes for themselves, but others purchased boxes for the school’s kitchen, for the food bank and for families who needed the support.
Members of students council and volunteers got together Oct. 5 to take delivery of the produce, organize it and pack it into the boxes that were then picked up by those who purchased them.
“We had a great team of volunteers and student leaders working together throughout the day,” principal Kathy Wells said. “There were 10 stations and members of the students council went from station to station filling the boxes.”
The breakfast program is the main benefactor of the program. Smith said statistics show many children come to school hungry. In some cases, they ate the breakfast early because they had to catch a bus, skipped it or could not afford a healthy breakfast.
“Our program at CNA is run by volunteers and any child can stop in grab something for breakfast. There are juice boxes, yogurt, cheese, granola bars and other items,” Smith said. “It’s a very inclusive program, anyone can take part and there’s no cost.”