Each new year brings additional challenges and, without a doubt, our hands-on approach allowed us to quickly direct our limited resources where they were most needed. This year we assist additional schools and generally adjusted our programs to ensure that the needs of the children are satisfied. The success we achieve stems from our fundamental dedication, responsiveness and our flexibility in continuously adapting to changing needs of our clientele and our ability to obtain resources to meet the demand on our services on a timely basis.
Montreal families have one of the lowest per capita incomes in Canada. As a result, many families are struggling with the additional burden as single parents and experience various crisis situations: illness, loss of jobs, stress, debt or rents that could be as much as forty percent of family income. It is clear why the children are often not ready to learn and find ways to hide their dilemma! Children are using our services at school, because for many of them there is little in the pantry at home.
The number of schools and learning centers we serve have increased to 110. Students requiring food on a daily basis has increased to 8500 for the current school year.
We have taken steps to strengthen our services. Each day, dozen’s of Generations Foundation “angels” are serving breakfast, lunch and snacks to children in our communities. Volunteers, lunch supervisors, childcare workers and teachers, are assisting in the fight against hunger. We were able to provide this level of service by working closely together with our volunteers in each school and with the full support of teachers and principals. We also wish to compliment the students who participated in meal preparation and cleanup in many of the schools. This unique cooperation has created a strong measure of satisfaction for all those who participated as well we have developed a methodology for future growth with limited resources. In providing our services to learning centers, we partner with high school students who help younger students with their homework
Since Generations Foundation introduced food programs to schools and learning centers, the teachers and principals have observed an increase in the level of attention paid in class. They see higher academic results, a decrease in tardiness and absenteeism, as well as a decrease in violence and aggression. Police officers say that they do not have to frequent a school as often for behavior problems. From a hundred different sources, we know that investment in early childhood development is the best possible investment we can make. We are positive that the efforts to improve children’s lives will lead to a better, happier, healthier, and more productive society and country.
Each summer, we are providing needy children an opportunity to spend a couple of weeks at a camp in the country. We have consistently provided needy children with an opportunity to spend time at a camp in the country. Many of the children who spend their summertime on the hot city streets are given the opportunity to attend Trails End Camp for at least one week. The camp program offers enriching experiences that help form an important bridge between the end of one school year and the beginning of the following school year. The diversified programs available at the camp are designed specifically to meet the needs and varied interests of the children. Many of the new skills and important friendships acquired during the summer helps children develop positive attitudes towards family and school.
Christmas is always a special time for Generations Foundation. Dozens of volunteers from various organizations visit our location to wrap and personally name donated new toys with tender loving care. We were able to deliver more than 5,000 gifts!
Costs have steadily increased. During our first year of operation the milk cost was 21.5 cents per carton. A $15,000 budget for milk provided 70,000 cartons. Today the same dollars, at today's cost would provide approximately 50,000 of 200 ml portions of milk. Similar increases have been experiencd for all the food we provide. Food costs steadily rise for many food items and in addition portions in the products are reduced. Milk and dairy products prices rise each year. Food Inflation is a reality and a challenge for many families to deal with.
Unlike many of the other organizations offering food to school children, we do not charge parents for the food we provide to their children.
In addition to the thousands of school meals and nutritious snacks, we delivered 90 crisis food baskets to the families of the schoolchildren we serve. Food baskets are given to families referred to us by the schools, police or by a social worker. This extraordinary situation is caused as a result of a lack of affordable low cost housing. Many families spent as much as 40% of their income on rent leaving little for other necessities such as food or clothing. The situation is greatly exasperated if someone in the family becomes ill or there is a need for clothing or some other emergency. Our food basket is intended to be a bridge to help a family over come a difficult situation.
Your personal support is vital since we are not receiving help from the Government. We have two major campaigns, one in November and one in May in addition to a number of fund-raising functions. I personally wish to seek your support for one or both of these campaigns. Please support us so that we may continue to provide our services crucial to a child’s well being.
We are confident that our message regarding child poverty is being received and understood in our community. Our relationship with key donors and our ability to identify essential needs of our clientele are the major factors that have made the Generations Foundation a recognized leader in hunger relief.
Overall we ended the year energized, focused and with a strong sense of motivation. Generations Foundation is confident that we can provide important services to our clientele even in difficult economic times.
I heartfully thank you, our generous and committed donors, volunteers and board members for your dedication and support. With your involvement, we can continue to help thousands of children to face daily challenges against all odds.
Adrian Bercovici receives the Prestigious Simon McDonaugh Award! Click here to read the details in the February 2010 issue of Nuach!t