A Whole Summer Of Feeding Young Minds From Maliha and amina

After 6 weeks of summerlunch+, our journey has sadly come to an end for this year. Our first year of feeding children has turned out to be a success. Not only did the program have a positive effect on the kids, but our very own staff began to make healthy choices in their diet. Being able to provide children with the food they may not be eating at home is our priority. Through our journey, we experimented with new recipes and incorporated them with the food children are used to eating at home. Our team has come a long way, and we are so proud of what we have accomplished; educating the children about the meals they're eating, and helping them develop good eating habits. We walked away from this experience knowing that making a change does not always have to be big, it can be done through small steps at a time.

 

The second summerlunch+ Community Lunch from Masooma

The second summerlunch+ Community Lunch from Masooma

"I had heard and seen a few individuals working on or talking about the Summerlunch+ program prior to today, but only this afternoon did I actually witness it. Because it is not something you see or hear, it is something you witness. I'd like to clear up this common misconception that all this program does is provide fresh, nutritious lunches to campers that help them stay healthy and active throughout the day. Because, truly, I can assure you, it is so much more than that. It was the environment provided by these volunteers and staff members that filled me. The laughter that rang through the large room along with the exuberant smiles we were all graced with so often. The quirky rendition of the SpongeBob theme song, and the outrageous call outs of raffle ticket numbers were something that rivaled the delicious food placed on tables all over the room. It was the experience of weaving through tables that seated anyone and everyone, of all ages and walks of life that I'll remember long after this summer is over. And it had dawned upon me suddenly, then and there; breakfast may as well be the most important meal of the day, but camp had made sure that lunch was the undeniably the most fun."  

(Masooma, Thornclilffe Neighbourhood Office, Youth Centre Volunteer)

Community Lunch with summerlunch+

Community Lunch with summerlunch+

On July 14th, we held our first community lunch in the empty Target building in the East York Town Centre. Many campers from Thorncliffe and Valley Park attended with a parent along with their camp counsellors and had a great time.

We spent all week planning and preparing a variety of healthy items to feed the children, their “plus one” and the counsellors. The campers were very excited about what they would be eating for lunch.

We served many nutritious, appetizing items such as whole wheat tortillas stuffed with beets, carrots, cheese, parsnips, and yogurt dressing. We also served vegetable rolls, date balls, hummus with pita, gourmet granola bites, and different fruits and vegetables. It was truly fascinating to see everyone trying and learning new things.

Summerlunch+ is providing reusable water bottles so that kids always have water available to them. We were excited to show kids how they can customize their water to their preference with natural refreshing flavours, such as; mint, lemon, orange, and watermelon. #stayhydrated.

Our team members Lisa and Olivia were of great importance; they worked behind the scenes to make sure food was served at each table and helped in preparing.

We wish to thank the awesome TNO staff and volunteers, who helped the kitchen staff serve foods to the attendees. Thank you Heather, Michelle, and Tara for coming and helping us out. We are grateful for our first donor, Morguard which provided us with the space, helped us serve food, and arranged beautifully designed tables and chairs for free through Cool Set Productions. The President’s Choice Children’s Charity was kind enough to support the food. JK Gourmet gave us granola bars which many had enjoyed. The hummus tasted wonderful, so thank you, chef Anthony Rose.

It was an eventful fun day for all of us, we had an amazing time. We look forward to our next upcoming community lunch!

First Day making 250 lunches for Summerlunch+!

What a bunch of bananas!

What a bunch of bananas!

On our first day, my team and I were very anxious of how things were going to turn out. We worked very hard to make this experience a memorable one. We prepared a week in advance for the first day. We had our tasks well planned, and educational material organized so that the children learn something positive every day.

On Monday, we prepared do-it-yourself whole wheat tortillas with nutritious mixed beans and corn, topped with marble cheese and salsa. Most of the children enjoyed their meals and learned about beans as protein and why we need to have balanced meals. After lunch, our team debriefed and discussed what went right and how we can improve. The first day turned out great and we are excited to continue to provide healthy meals as well as nutritional education to the camp children!

 

First Week Review from Khadija

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The first week of working with summerlunch+ has been a fairly busy one. My fellow colleagues and I have been working hard to plan for our extensive summerlunch+ program here at Thorncliffe Park Public School. Working with Lisa, Susan, and Olivia has been a great new experience by far and extremely helpful in terms of assistance and advice.

On the very first day we worked on planning and organizing our resources to make this wonderful program come to life. Then on the following day we worked on this very cool project that was a new experience for me, the fermentation of turnips and we also tasted ready-made samples that the instructor, Hema, was kind enough to provide us with. I really enjoyed this workshop and gained a lot of knowledge from it.

On the following afternoon we had a visit from Toronto Public Health’s inspection unit that was very informative regarding food safety. We also participated in fun and descriptive activities regarding healthy foods. We learned that labels don’t always tell the truth and that we should be very careful on what we purchase and consume.

On Thursday the 7th in the afternoon we had our most exciting event that will be a cherished and memorable experience. We made a visit down to Fat Pasha located at Dupont near Spadina. The owner, Chef Anthony Rose, was very accommodating and kind and he taught us how to make his famous hummus. Following the workshop Anthony talked about his highly successful career as a chef and how he started working as a small business and slowly expanded and became one of the most renown chefs in Toronto. My colleagues and I hope to implement his advice while working on the summerlunch+ program serving 250 kids daily and we hope to gradually expand to other schools throughout Canada in the coming years.

According to what my colleagues and I have been working on so far, we see that this amazing program should be offered to the young children and youths in Canada. Our hope at summerlunch+ is that we expand our program to feed future generations and teach them nutritional literacy and the value of eating healthy.  

~ Khadija

Our first week at summerlunch+

This has been a wonderful week of training, learning and meeting some great Torontonians who share our interest in feeding kids year-round. Our summer program is going to bridge the gap when school nutrition programs are on break, in order to reduce summer learning loss, and we can't wait to get started Monday!

 

Olivia, Fajr, Khadija & Susan meet Councillor Joe Mihevc

Olivia, Fajr, Khadija & Susan meet Councillor Joe Mihevc

Getting ready for Coalition for School Food with Sasha from Food Secure Canda
Michelle & Susan are interviewed on Metro Morning!

Michelle & Susan are interviewed on Metro Morning!