Not all kids head to school having had a good breakfast. But a surprise donation to Terry Fox elementary school will provide 23,000 pancakes to students who need something to eat in the morning.
Kelli Harman, mother of two current students and two graduates of Terry Fox elementary, and Michele Pedersen, the school’s child and youth worker, came together to launch a breakfast program about a month ago.
While the program is in its infancy, it has received a boost through more than 80 large bags of pancake mix bought with community donations.
Jami Savage organized a “pancake mix drive” to surprise the organizers after she met Harman and was inspired by stories about the breakfast program.
Savage had signed up to take part in a challenge by Vancouver blogger Marc Smith of 30 Day Adventures, who runs a 30-days-of-kindness initiative. Savage put out a call on her Facebook page, seeking donations.
“Our family goal was 10 (bags of pancake mix) and we were going to match that to go to 20, but in one day it totally snowballed on my Facebook page and we got up to 84.”
Savage said that amounts to about 23,000 pancakes.
Savage planned to surprise Harman and Pedersen on Monday at the elementary school.
When the donation was revealed, Pedersen and Harman were amazed.
“This type of donation is very generous and very fast,” said Pedersen.
The program runs every Thursday, with the first breakfast serving about 150 kids.
Harman, who is chair of the parent advisory council, said that as she got to know the students and the needs of the school, she and Pedersen decided to start the breakfast program. Harman said that as Pedersen works “in the trenches” as the child and youth worker, she knows a lot about what kids have and what they need.
“Kids need to have a full tummy for their brains to work right,” said Pedersen.
Organizers currently have a small budget to operate the program, but they would like to expand to provide breakfast on more days, which Pedersen said would also require more volunteers.
Harman added that in addition to parent volunteers, all of the teachers take turns helping with all aspects of getting the breakfast to kids.
“It is a truly collaborative effort here at Terry Fox,” said Harman. “We’re a little, small school, with a lot of people with huge hearts and unfortunately, a small budget.”
Pedersen said it is amazing how social media can connect people and make a difference, as everyone contributing a small amount can really add up.
For information or to make a donation or volunteer, email [email protected]
Above photo: Kelli Harman, Michele Pedersen and Jami Savage.