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Food for thought

Lisa Scott
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 27/05) - Dana Britton, co-ordinator for the Food First Foundation, says most NWT schools have a breakfast, snack or lunch program for students who come to school empty-handed and hungry.

A $30,000 donation and partnership with Canadian North means Britton can visit schools to look at their programs, give them advice and even resources.

"It's very important for us to make personal contact with the schools," she says. "Child nutrition should be one of the top priorities in the NWT and Nunavut."

Families often struggle to provide proper nutrition in isolated communities because fresh and healthy foods aren't as readily available.

"The transportation factor of getting fresh food makes it hard for parents to find the food they'd like to serve their kids," says Britton.

"Numerous studies show strong correlations between student hunger and poor academic performance, disruptive behaviour in the classroom and poor attendance," says Food First chair and nutritionist Tanya Gillard.

Britton and Gillard, along with representatives from Canadian North, announced the partnership at the K'alemi Dene school in Yellowknife June 13.

It boosts their current $66,000 budget by a third.

The non-profit foundation is part of the national Breakfast for Learning program that helps 18 NWT schools, delivering food to 1,400 students.