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Breakfast's ready

Kent Driscoll and Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Dec 12/05) - Two schools offering breakfast programs in the Kivalliq region are heading in different directions.

While the Baker Lake program is becoming more popular in its third year, the one in Repulse Bay is in danger of being cut.

In Baker Lake, a change in scheduling has revived the program.

There are more kids taking part now that the program is separate from school. Last year, kids were served breakfast in their homeroom class; now, they have to arrive at 8:20 a.m. so that they are done and at their desks when the bell rings at 8:45 a.m.

Parents have become accustomed to the earlier start, said Pippa Gamage, the physical education teacher at Jonah Amitnaaq school.

"It is better this way, it targets the kids who really need it," said Gamage.

"We get between 65 and 80 kids, depending on the week," said Gamage.

In Repulse Bay, staff at Tusarvik school are struggling to keep their breakfast program alive after hamlet council decided it could no longer afford to help fund it.

Money had previously been available through the Brighter Futures community initiatives programming. Principal Leonie Aissaoui said the hamlet has helped fund the program for the past 10 years.

She said she was disappointed when she heard the news and immediately started looking to other sources for program funding.

It has cost Tusarvik about $34,000 annually to run the breakfast program.

To date, Aissaoui has managed to secure $8,000 from the Food First Foundation of the NWT, which may keep the program going for two more months.

She has also received an e-mail from a person in Australia who donated $2,000 last year.

"He wants to see photos and find out how the money was spent. He said he would be interested in donating another $2,000, but I haven't heard from him since he sent the first e-mail," she said.

The Northern store has decided to give the program a 20 per cent discount instead of the previous 10 per cent, said Aissaoui.

In order to make the money last as long as possible, the school has ended its daily snack program for the students and is only serving breakfast between 8:15 to 9 a.m. on school days.

"We're keeping our fingers crossed Cpl. Mike Itwaru of the local detachment of the RCMP may be able to access some funding through an RCMP program."

Tusarvik school has 260 pupils registered this year and, on average, about one-third of them show up every morning for breakfast.