A nutritious breakfast is the launch-pad for a full day of focused learning.
Providing students in need with a nutritious breakfast – giving them the chance to start their day ready to learn on equal footing with their peers.
With support from individual and corporate donors, volunteers, educators, the City of Ottawa, and the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, we ensure that local children and youth have the energy their growing bodies and developing brains need to succeed in school.
About the Program
Through no fault of their own, thousands of children and youth arrive at school hungry. This is a serious problem, because hungry students can’t learn. As food costs and food insecurity rates soar, demand for the breakfast program also grows. In the past 3 years alone, 35 schools and 1,000 breakfast participants were added to the program. There are many reasons why a student might be at risk of coming to school hungry, and one of the most important reasons is family income; in fact, 1 in 5 children in Ottawa live in poverty.
Research confirms that children and youth who eat a healthy breakfast engage more in class and perform better academically. They also have better attendance, and fewer behaviour issues. In Ottawa, 90% of principals surveyed agree that students who participate in the program appear happier and more engaged in their daily learning and activities.
Bring a Program to Your School
Applications for the 2023-24 school year (September 2023 start date) will be available starting in January 2023. Please check back at that time for more information.
“Not only did the program feed the students but it also allowed us to check in with 40 – 50 students every morning. These brief conversations may seem insignificant but it helped to build a sense of community and care during a school year that has been extremely difficult for all. “
~ Ottawa School Principal, 2021
Join our community of donors
The School Breakfast Program relies on gifts we receive from our community of donors. We use these funds to procure the nutritious meals we serve and to coordinate the many moving bodies that keep our program running.
We invite you to join ONFE’s Neighbourhood of Monthly Donors today. Monthly donations provide us with a stability that helps us plan better.
Any gift, no matter the amount, one-time or monthly, is always welcome.
However you choose to give, we want you to know one thing – we appreciate you. For being here, for your interest in our program, and for your desire to help children and youth succeed.
Fall 2021 Update: Providing nutrition, and staying safe
We’re ensuring that K-12 students can start the day ready to learn on equal footing with their peers – while also being able to follow physical distancing and other safety protocols.
Comments from Ottawa school principals who witnessed the impact of the School Breakfast Program
I am not sure what we would do without the Breakfast Program. Coming to school without having had breakfast or without a lunch is not only unhealthy and uncomfortable, but is a worry for children. Being able to provide students with healthy food when they need it means that children are better able to learn, and better able to just be kids.
This year a grade one student benefited immensely from the snack program, as he would often come to school hungry and did not have anything healthy to choose from in his lunch kit. He would ask his teacher for fruit during snack time everyday and would often have more than one piece. This became a pattern, and it encouraged other students to try a variety of different snacks. As it is a universal program, he was very comfortable taking a snack each and every day. He never felt that it was only for students who didn’t have enough or who didn’t have nutritious snacks. He could often be heard saying, “I love oranges! This one is so juicy!” The program provided him, as well as others, an opportunity to have access to healthy foods which allowed them to focus and participate in all aspects of their learning.
The School Breakfast Program’s Impact
ONFE’s School Breakfast Program: Making a difference, one breakfast at a time.