Not just a Brat Pack film from the 80s, Breakfast Club is now a reality right here in Fort St. James.
Thanks to Jhenipher Bridgeman, who thought there were more students arriving at school needing breakfast than were getting fed by the previous program, breakfast is now served five days a week at the high school.
The previous breakfast program provided some basic snacks like yogurt and some cereal, but there were more students who needed to be reached and Bridgeman applied to Canada’s Breakfast Club program to do it.
The organization helps provide guidance and funding for breakfast programs across Canada, and has served breakfast to close to 107,000 children in 1,034 schools according to their stats.
Bridgeman wrote a grant application to the group last December and in February, the breakfast started.
The national program provided some equipment like toasters and a warmer, plus coupons for juice and bread at reduced prices.
Since the funding and support came through, breakfast has been served five days a week at the high school, serving about 65 kids a morning, according to Bridgeman.
She said before, the basic program served some, but this program creates a “social gathering of kids” each morning.
“It promotes inclusion,” said Jeanette Burdeniuk, who is the contractor who administers the program for the school.
There is a different meal each day, with “eggers,” waffles, smoothies, grilled cheese and pancakes being the regulars so far.
“They love the variety,” said Bridgeman.
In questionnaires some of the students filled out, all the responses are positive, with the one thing many mentioned being an area for improvement would be to provide bacon.
But many of the students recognized the importance of breakfast for performance in school, and many expressed their appreciation for what is provided.
Students also assist with some of the cleanup normally, helping to satisfy some of their requirements for volunteer hours they need towards their graduation.
But so far, Bridgeman and another volunteer, Elke Lepka, are the two volunteers who have been serving the breakfasts each morning.
They are hoping some more community groups or individuals decide to get involved to help to serve in the mornings.
Anyone interested in helping out can contact Bridgeman at the high school.