Posted by Lloyd Mack
Rotary Club of Kenora’s Nutrition on Weekends (NOW)
The Rotary Club of Kenora’s Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) Kenora pilot project is officially underway.
After a couple of weeks of grocery shopping and stocking our pantry, a group of Rotarians and friends gathered Thursday afternoon, March 21, to package the first weekend’s bag for each of the 17 participating children at King George VI School.
Each child receives two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks each weekend. The challenge is to provide as healthy a food choice as possible, accessible (easy to open for example) and at reasonable cost. The first bag included a cold cereal, a hot cereal (instant oatmeal) and two fruit choices (apple sauce and two mini mandarin oranges) for breakfast, a beef vegetable soup, chicken salad and crackers kit, can of ham, soda crackers, cereal sticks, carrot sticks for lunch options, and a granola bar and cheese and breadsticks for snack options. There were dips and peanut butter packets included to utilize with different options.
A huge thank you to principal Tim Flynn and vice-principal Nicole Vingerhoeds for all the work they have done at their end. Also to those Rotarians who organized the Frozen Fiesta Gala fundraiser in conjunction with the city’s Winter Carnival the first weekend of March. The event, in particular the support of major sponsor Jarnel Contracting and bronze sponsors Scotiabank, Gillons Insurance and Kenon Builders helped ensure $3,500 was raised to finance the pilot program. 
The Rotary Club of Kenora’s role will be accessing funding, purchasing food and packing the weekend bags that will be handed out discreetly by the child’s teacher on the last school day before the weekend or a school break. The health and hunger committee will also evaluate the ongoing need of the program and anticipates it growing to other schools in our community. We have already begun making applications for grants and discussing other financing partnerships. Growth of the program will be as funding permits. The Health and Hunger committee will use the same proactive approach as it does for funding nutrition programs, consulting the schools in order to disperse the funding equitably and to meet the greatest need.
We will be circulating sign-up sheets for volunteers via email and at Monday’s Rotary meeting. We plan to have four Rotarians package the bags each week and will have at least one person with experience there to assist.