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As St. Mary’s Program Director, Louise oversees all staff and ensures the boys and girls participating are nurtured, do their homework, and are fed a healthy dinner. She directly coordinates meal delivery with Feeding Canadian Kids, communicating any special needs and reporting feedback.
In the wake of COVID-19, we’ve checked in with Louise to see the effect the pandemic has had on the dinner program; the challenges ahead; and the “wins” that keep her going.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected St. Mary’s after-school dinner program?
Our program had to close in March as schools shut down, and then reopened in September – but at half capacity. Half the kids are able to be here, and the others have to remain at home. To continue to feed the kids at home, our staff and volunteers have had to work together with Feeding Canadian Kids and deliver meals door to door.
What challenges did you face to keep the program running?
With COVID-19 restrictions, hot, ready-made prepared meals to were no longer allowed to be accepted into the school. Feeding Canadian Kids partnership with Real Food For Real Kids has allowed us to keep going as the meals now arrive vacuum sealed and frozen, and are made in a controlled and safe environment that adheres to all COVID-19 safety protocols.
What are the “wins” that keep you going?
I’m grateful to be able to form partnerships with organizations like Feeding Canadian Kids that really complement and add to what we do at St.Mary’s, and allow us to continue to nourish our children with healthy meals and a positive experience. The support from all of the staff, partners, volunteers and families is invaluable. Seeing the kids happy and energized always makes me feel our work is worthwhile.