Containers purchased through a Dungate Community Forest grant provide a pandemic safety measure for the Silverthorne breakfast and lunch program. Another grant, this one from the District of Houston, has helped with food purchases this year. (Houston Today photo)

Containers purchased through a Dungate Community Forest grant provide a pandemic safety measure for the Silverthorne breakfast and lunch program. Another grant, this one from the District of Houston, has helped with food purchases this year. (Houston Today photo)

District of Houston grant bolsters Silverthorne meal program

Students offered breakfast and lunch

Silverthorne Elementary is making good use of the COVID-19 grant it received earlier this year from the District of Houston for its breakfast and lunch program.

“With COVID-19 we found that our fundraising and donations from parents declined compared to previous years,” said Silverthorne school secretary Amanda Clee.

“The COVID Emergency Relief Grant helped bridge the gap so we could continue offering the same quality meals to all students at no charge,” she said of the $5,000 provided by the District.

Approximately 100 of the school’s 150 students benefit from the program, making for a 67 per cent participation rate.

Breakfasts might include bacon and eggers, yogurt with cereal and fruit, scrambled eggs and fruit, and pancakes.

Lunches may consist of soft tacos, ham and cheese buns, pasta and sauce, perogies and sausages, soups, salads with protein, chicken chow mein or chili and a bun.

Students are also offered fruit throughout the day as well as granola bars if snacks are required, said Clee.

Silverthorne had asked for the $5,000 to cover an anticipated deficit of $3,000 by the end of this school year and $2,000 to finance the start of its breakfast and lunch programs when school resumes in September.

While income dropped, expenses rose by using disposable dishes to deliver meals to classrooms. The school then purchased covered melamine dishes at a cost of just over $3,300 to cut down on waste.

With overall expenses this school year to be an estimated $34,000 and revenue of just under $31,000, “we are forecasting a deficit of approximately $3,000 for the end of June which would make the start up of our program in September almost impossible,” a letter from the school to the District emphasized in asking the District for assistance.

The grant for Silverthorne comes from a $100,000 fund set aside by the District last year in support of local groups and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. And the $100,000 came from a larger COVID-19 relief grant of $1.066 million provided to the District by the provincial government last fall.

Regular fundraising activities undertaken by Silverthorne to support its meal program include a Buy Low Foods gift card program in which provides the school with $10 for every $100 gift card it sells and selling spring flowers through Riverside Gardens.

Other programs outlined by Clee include:

– Fresh To You, a BC Agriculture in the Classroom fundraiser in which the school sells BC agriculture veggie bundles to families and community and receives cash back and free veggie bundles for use in the hot lunch program or donate to families in need,

– Selling chocolates, wrapping paper, garden supplies, beef jerky and gifts through a company called Dieleman Fundraising,

– Selling Christmas and spring flowers through a company called Growing Smiles, and

– selling Purdys chocolates.

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