Canterbury students connecting with community through meals for seniors

Article Posted: Monday, April 15, 2019

​Students of all ages at Canterbury High School are connecting with their community through a new, school-based meals for seniors project.

Every Wednesday, high school students taking part in culinary classes prepare 55 to 65 homecooked meals, while multi-age groups of students from kindergarten to Grade 12 deliver them to seniors in the village. About half of the seniors gather at the community hall near the school to receive their meals, while the rest of the deliveries are made door-to-door by students. The project will run for approximately 10 weeks.

"The community response is that it is kind, generous and a good way to connect school and community," said Principal Susan Mabie. "Our culinary classes are becoming efficient and getting lots of real restaurant type experience, while planning, costing, preparing and cooking healthy food. Our K-12s delivering the meals are meeting and visiting seniors. They are giving up their lunch hour to do this. Volunteerism is a huge learning experience and it is what makes many of the services in our communities."

Mabie said appropriate social interaction is also a new and important lesson for many students. Teachers and older students accompany the younger students on their deliveries so they are never alone while walking their routes in the village. An educational assistant helps deliver a few meals which need to be driven to their destinations due to distance.

"The seniors enjoy the meals and the students and look forward to it each week," said Mabie. "They call and let us know if they are not going to be home."

The full course meals come complete with dessert and are served to the seniors free of charge. The school received a $2,000 grant from iHub Learning Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting experiential learning in the province's Anglophone​ school sector. 

Mabie said a lot of work goes into the project every week from peeling large bags of potatoes to organizing an assembly line for plating food. The school planned for 30 seniors and is serving about twice that amount on a weekly basis. The meals are being prepared for about $3 per plate. 

 "I heard some people commenting how sweet it was to see students carrying dinners in the snow. There has been quite a buzz on Facebook with positive comments and about how much the seniors appreciate it."

Shown in the photos below are (1) Canterbury senior Mary Ann Thornton Brown gets her meal and a visit from students (back row) Logan Blair and Brooke Irwin and (front row) Bentley Johnson, Gabe Lutwick and Katee Fox.; (2) Abby Ivey, culinary arts student working in the kitchen at Canterbury School; (3) Students Marla Bedard, Alexa Grant and John Dickinson ready to deliver meals to seniors.