Brewer Foundation funds student hunger programs in upper river valley schools

Article Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

​Nine schools in the upriver valley received a huge financial boost Feb. 18 with over $40,000 donated by the Brewer Foundation in support of student hunger programs.

The Brewer Foundation is a Fredericton-based, non-profit organization dedicated to preventing student hunger in New Brunswick schools.

A total of $30,570 has been donated toward breakfast and lunch programs at Andover Elementary School, Perth Andover Middle School and Southern Victoria High School, providing sustainability for the services now being provided to students at all three schools.

"This is the first time all three schools are pulling together to share resources," said teacher David Gallagher, who leads the culinary tech course at Southern Victoria High School. "It's bringing us together as a community."

Students involved in culinary tech help prepare healthy meals for their peers with the support of school staff and community volunteers. For example, lunches are made at Southern Victoria High School and delivered to the other two schools. These lunches are kept in a display fridge, called the Feed Me Frig, accessible to all students during school hours.

ASD-W community coordinator Carol Godbout explained the funding from the Brewer Foundation provides a base for school programs to rely on, while a new committee works on building and strengthening outreach and fundraising in the local community. She praised the Brewer Foundation for their "heart" to help others in need.

"We have to come together as a community to take care of each other," said Sandy Kitchen-Brewer, co-founder of the Brewer Foundation. "When kids are fed at school, they come to school. They are able to focus on learning and go on to do great things."

In Florenceville-Bristol, $10,000 will go to support the backpack program operated by the True North Baptist Church. The program provides for students at Florenceville Elementary School, Florenceville Middle School, Bristol Elementary School, Centreville Community School, Bath Community School and Carleton North High School. Through the program, food is purchased, packed and delivered to schools so students in need are able to take backpacks full of food home for the weekend. 

The True North Baptist Church took on the work as a mission project in 2014, and today parishioners are putting together 66 bags of food for student backpacks every week. 

ASD-W community coordinator Valerie Carmichael said the district is now partnering with the church to support its efforts and assist with fundraising, noting the donation from the Brewer Foundation will help provide sustainability for the expanding backpack program.

"We're hoping there's going to be broad community-based support to carry us into next fall," Carmichael explained. "I"m confident that will happen with the generosity that exists in the wider community."

Research indicates that feeding children at school improves student behaviour and attitude, reduces absenteeism, improves the ability to stay on task, and increases academic achievement.

The Brewer Foundation has recognized that improving the lives of school-aged children often happens locally, when individuals take action in their communities. The Foundation is investing in sustainable approaches to combat student food insecurity and is partnering with schools and community organizations to either establish or grow their student hunger programs. 

Shown in the photos below are left to​ right (1) Bart Myers, Earle Brewer and Sandy Kitchen-Brewer from the Brewer Foundation with Perth Andover students and high school culinary tech teacher David Gallagher, far right, during a cheque presentation for $30,570 for student hunger programs in all three area schools; (2) Members of the True North Baptist Church in Florenceville-Bristol (left to right) Nancy Ruff, Al McIssac, Charles Walker, Judy McIssac, and Sheila Palmer, with Sandy Kitchen-Brewer from the Brewer Foundation, ASD-W community coordinator Valerie Carmichael, and Colleen MacDonald Briggs, public health dietician with Horizon Health.


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