Ladysmith Secondary School is on a mission to make sure that all of their students have access to healthy food.
For the past six years, the school has run a breakfast program. That program offers students food like smoothies, oatmeal, cereal, toast, and bagels every morning.
“It’s just the whole idea that we want to make sure students have food so they can concentrate on their studies,” LSS principal David Travers said.
Recently, LSS began a lunch program. Travers said the program began after Lori Phillips asked him if there was anything Oceanview Church could offer to fill a need at LSS — Travers said he wanted a ‘good’ lunch program.
Phillips met with LSS counsellors Kim Chadwick, Kirsten Toole, Laura Harrison, and principal Travers shortly after to figure out what the food program would look like.
In the past, LSS tried a soup program — however, that program proved to be unsustainable. The sandwich program is much easier to run, and gives students more control over portioning. The program brings together community volunteers as well as student volunteers to make the sandwiches.
“It’s huge for me on two levels,” Philips said. “‘It’s huge to see that the church can be a help to the community, and to provide something that the kids and the school need. As a parent, it’s great to see your own children being involved and serving.”
“I love the partnership we have with the school. I’m grateful that the school allows us to be here, and we want first and foremost to be helpful to the school — that’s our mandate.”
Around 200 sandwiches are made every Tuesday, and are distributed to students at lunch on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Bread is donated by the Old Town Bakery, and Cobs Bread. The program is supplemented by fresh fruit and vegetable donations by 49th Parallel.
The program is open to all students. Students do not have to identify themselves as being in need, which removes barriers to accessing food. The program has proved so popular that sandwiches often run out before some students have a chance to get one.
LSS does provide money for the programs. However, the need for food has surpassed the school’s allotment for the program. Travers said LSS would like to offer lunch to students every day of the week, and to accomplish that, LSS needs $10,000. That $10,000 would be enough to run the program every day of the school year. Currently, LSS can only fund less than half that amount.
Community groups like the Ladysmith Kinsmen, the Health Care Auxiliary, the Eagles, and the Rotary Club have donated money to keep the program going. Their logos are included on the sandwich labels to show that the community cares about LSS students.
“We’re trying to develop a culture of kindness here, and this is just one of the aspects of meeting our goal of kindness,” Travers said.