What If It Isn\'t?


May not be important to this thread/question, but the Mission Statement for our breakfast program is pretty clear, I think. It can be viewed at [url="http://www.breakfastforlearning.ca"]www.breakfastforlearning.ca[/url]

I can go into all of the details of how I presented the idea to the school last spring so they could get funding, etc. and how I thought I was going to co-ordinate the program. I will know by the end of this week if I am actually considered the co-ordinator or not

So, have had difficulties all along. I volunteer two mornings a week. On two occasions, I have had to remove "may contains" from the program (buckets of muffin mix and several boxes of cereal). My son goes with me (as does my daughter). I also serve, on occasion, another PA child.

Somehow, the principal has managed to blow through the money for the program already, which my mind is still boggled about and I believe will forever be.

The kids received last week a notice about this coming Thursday. Breakfast With Santa. A fundraiser for the breakfast program. I wasn't spoken with about any input whatsoever.

The cost per child is $3.00.

I spoke with the principal on Friday and asked her if since the Breakfast with Santa is this Thursday, if that means I'm not opening the regular program from 8:00 'til 8:45 a.m. No, I'm not. So, my services are not required, but she did say that I could certainly volunteer if I wanted to Thursday. I declined.

Then, a thought dawned on me and I just left a message for the school now.

Bare with me while I sidetrack again - there are cookies sold on Pizza Days. I have never ordered cookies for the kids because I have not checked on the PA safety of them. When I had access to about 20 of them the other morning, I gave them to my SIL rather than bringing them home. My MIL said that they should be "peanut free" and I told her that it just wasn't on my list of priorities to find out if they were (they're chocolate chip cookies so they would be "may contain" if anything not PA safe).

I called the school and left a message asking if the Breakfast for Santa on Thursday was going to be "peanut free" including no "may contains" or "made ins". Also remembering that this is supposed to be a "reduce the risk" school.

I have a pretty good idea in my head of what I am going to do if it is not "peanut free" and my children cannot attend, but what would YOU do?

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ "That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."

On Dec 19, 2005

Cindy - the entire story seems odd to me. Aren't the breakfasts usually free? I'm assuming so - because our kids can eat a free breakfast every morning if they so desire. So, here are these kids that are used to eating a free breakfast, having to pay in order to eat on a day that Santa shows up? If they can't afford it, they go hungry? That blows!

------------------ Sherlyn Mom to 5 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not. Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

On Dec 19, 2005

It sounds like the whole breakfast program blows! I might even consider reporting what this principal has done to whoever gives out the grant money.

Do they have any stipulations on charging for the meal?

On Dec 19, 2005

The whole program blows, believe me. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/mad.gif[/img]

In answer to the question that started this thread - yes, the breakfast that morning will be pancakes - made in the "peanut free" kitchen and made from mix the principal made up herself.

I was never given permission to try to get corporate sponsorship or anything else for the program. I told the vice principal a couple of weeks ago that a lot of the Fathers in this area work at the Ontario Food Terminal and they should be spoken with about fruit that we could get in for free. For example, years ago, the fellow that my DH currently works for "off and on", when he was "lumping" himself (rather than a boss), he would often come home with say crates of mangos that he could get rid of. I remember receiving a crate of mangos and wondering what the heck I was going to do with all of them at the time. I also remember all of the other produce that Ron gave me (not my Ron).

I also told the vice principal that there was one Father who works for The Toronto Star and that I thought he should be approached - The Toronto Star might not be able to help, but this man might have some contacts.

We also have the Kraft/Nabisco/Mr. Christie's plant basically "down the street".

But because I wasn't allowed to contact anyone (i.e., co-ordinate - not even for volunteers), things have just gone from bad to worse.

I told the vice principal what had worked for the school in Belleville - the same size as this school and a program that was *hitting* the "target group".

I also told her that the principal had sabotaged the program in the second last newsletter when it said - PAY WHAT YOU CAN - EACH MEAL COSTS $1.40 PER STUDENT.

When I read that, I was like what? I added up what I thought I spent per day and I honestly don't think I spent that much money.

So, I get last week's newsletter and now it says PAY WHAT YOU CAN - EACH MEAL COSTS $1.50 PER STUDENT.

I have spoken with people in the community who are either in need or would know of people in need and they said that right from the start (when a toonie - $2.00) was mentioned, they have not sent their children in because they thought it cost money.

I told the vice principal this before the SECOND $1.50 per meal newsletter came out. I also explained (to a woman who I believe does not have children) that $1.50 per meal per child would buy milk and cereal for one's own home and that the request went against the Mission Statement for Breakfast for Learning.

She agreed and also said that people might feel uncomfortable not knowing how the volunteers would *ask* for money - would it be demanded at the door before the child sat down; would the child be made to feel not okay because they didn't have money, what?

I do know that the day I went in, after hearing that the program was struggling financially (and after the first notice about $1.40 per child per meal) was printed, I did refuse money from a young lady and her sister who I know their Father uses it as a safe haven for the girls to be when he sets off to work (and also get breakfast). Oh, I didn't refuse it because of that period. I refused it because lo and behold, on the counter was a new George Foreman Griddle (after the last one had smashed to the floor and broken to bits).

I keep going back to the website and trying to figure things out. We do not have any of the posters or other things that we could have in the program. This started Day #1 when the principal refused to delegate, saw only $ signs in her eyes, and got completely and utterly overwhelmed thereafter.

Someone had run out shopping a couple of weeks ago and they went to the local ValuMart (Loblaw's off-shoot) where my SIL works. She even spoke up and said, "you know, if the program is having trouble financially, you definitely shouldn't be shopping at ValuMart).

My list of complaints has been endless, but I've just let them be.

I just can't understand why a program, with the same start-up funds (first year) would be out of money two months into the program whereas we managed to run the other one throughout the school year and hit our target group and never accept a penny from the children we were serving.

Oh - if you don't have money for Breakfast for Santa, well, you're SOL. Especially because the program, in and of itself, is not running that morning.

There was another Mom whose children showed up last week and they show up sporadically for whatever reason(s). Someone (not me) asked if they were showing up for Breakfast for Santa and they said no, Mama, says we can't afford $9.00 for breakfast that morning. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Each Tuesday and Thursday morning, I start my day off in this absolute nightmare situation that I can't seem to correct. I have decided that after the New Year, I am going to gear down to one day a week because I notice that it does affect my mood for the whole day.

But if the program hadn't been "peanut free" Thursday, I would have done something even more drastic.

Many thanks and best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ "That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."

On Dec 22, 2005

This is not re PA so not necessary to read.

I called the principal and left a message asking what happened to children in need who were not able to pay the $3.00 "donation" for Breakfast with Santa.

I had worked the program Tuesday morning and there was a huge box of oranges, four crates of clementines and two very large bunches of bananas. I thought, okay, all of this fruit and it has to be used up by the end of the week. I sent clementines and cut-up oranges into one class because I have been experimenting to see if there is a need for a snack program and/or if I'm correct in my assumptions:-

- there are children in the class I have targeted that either do not eat breakfast at home and are really hungry by first snack and/or they don't have a snack.


The principal calls me back. I had been thinking of the three children who weren't able to go to Breakfast with Santa and really wanted to go and I thought perhaps the principal could send them an invitation out of the goodness of her heart. Whatever.

No. The breakfast is being served from K to Grade 2 regardless of donation. Anyone above Grade 2, if they can't pay, they're SOL, including the kids that join me every morning for breakfast. She was very blunt and almost rude about it and I was quite shocked.

Then, she proceeded to scream at me for sending the fruit into the classroom. I said that the boxes were not marked (the clementines) for the Breakfast with Santa and all I saw was a whole lot of fruit that needed to be out of there by the end of the week.

Apparently, with apples that are near rotten, she takes them home, puts them skin and all in the blender and makes muffins for the program out of them. I also heard AGAIN about the apples I had given to a class last week because they would have been rotten the next day.

At any rate, I was going to volunteer to work to-day but after she SCREAMED at me, I decided not to. I also decided to let her get to me for the whole day.

Last night, I leave a message asking if I am the co-ordinator of the program (which I was supposed to be). I said I needed to know the answer and then I would be able to proceed. I also said, on the message, that I would have volunteered for to-day except for the way she spoke with me.

So, this afternoon I get a phone call from her. No, I am not the co-ordinator. I ask her who is. She said that she is. I have explained repeatedly that school personnel cannot be the co-ordinator for the program - it has to be someone else. Say that again. She says, "oh, well, I guess I'll have to find one then".

I said that when I had presented the idea to her that I had presented it with the intention of being the co-ordinator but that she had never allowed me to do any of the co-ordinator stuff. She wouldn't allow me access to potential volunteer names, etc. saying that she would take care of it herself.

She kept saying "what is your point, Mrs. Cook?".

Well, my point was, I needed to hear if I was the co-ordinator (had any way of changing what's going on or what) or if I was simply (not simply) another parent volunteer.

I said, okay, I would like to work one Thursday a month. She said, oh, I'll have to get back to you on that. We need someone that will commit to one day a week. I said, okay, I will volunteer each Thursday morning.

She said "oh, it looks like I'll have to find a volunteer for Tuesday mornings". I said, "yes, it looks like you will".

I am just so upset.

Oh, I was also told very clearly yesterday that all of the oranges were going home with her where she will be making orange whole wheat flour muffins for the program (meanwhile, all of the muffins that have been made and are frozen, you could bounce off the walls).

I am so very very disappointed. Not because I thought I was going to get some kind of shine out of the thing. Because I could see that there were children in need. I still see there are children in need, but they're not getting fed. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Breakfast with Santa was pancakes with whipped cream and syrup and a candy cane. And I guess a clementine.

I just feel sad to-day.

Thanks for listening. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ "That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."

On Dec 22, 2005

wow. csc. This woman has no clue what the meaning of Christmas is. I'm glad you were able to clarify your "role" so you can take a break from some of this craziness. And she's the principal. unreal. Go do something nice for yourself, you deserve it [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] Meg

On Dec 22, 2005

mommyofmatt, thank-you. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I have yet to compose an e-mail to the principal. It will be *nice* but I have a couple of points that I want to mention to her. I'm truly pleased that I did clarify my position with her to-day (finally, I know [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/rolleyes.gif[/img] ) because this program has been eating away at me since the day it began. Only because I was trying to co-ordinate (as I thought that was my role) and I got stopped at every turn by HER. No one else.

She had asked me to speak at a Parent Council meeting about the program and I told her that I didn't think I was a very good speaker. At that time, she told me, no problem, she would speak that night. To-day, that was thrown in my face.

When she read off the list of duties for the breakfast program co-ordinator, I said, yes, I am well aware of the duties and you have not allowed me to do a single one of them.

One of the things was doing a head count each morning of how many children we served. Not a big deal. She gave me the forms one week. The next week she asked for them back and said that the vice principal would be doing them. When I gave them back, I said, okay, but the co-ordinator is supposed to do that and the co-ordinator cannot be school staff. She just sluffed it off.

I asked her very early in the program if I could get the names of some people to contact to volunteer and she said she would take care of it - calling for volunteers.

Everything that the co-ordinator was/is supposed to do, she would not LET me do. So, yes, essentially she has been the co-ordinator because she would not delegate it otherwise, although again, it cannot be school staff. It is supposed to be someone from outside of the school.

I'm also going to send her a copy of the Mission Statement for the Breakfast for Learning program.

I think how she has presented the program in newsletters and even how this *fundraiser* to-day was handled is a disgrace to what Breakfast for Learning is trying to achieve (and has achieved successfully for years in other schools).

For some reason, I think when I presented the idea to her last Spring, she didn't fully understand the concept or her school community. That the program is for children in need. She saw $ signs and has ever since.

I don't feel disappointment with myself because I know I tried (and that's hard for me not to blame myself somehow), but I feel disappointment in that I know this program *could* have worked. I've seen it done!

But no, let's just get the start-up money, pi** it away (sorry), and then if the program goes belly up, well too bad.

I really am heartbroken. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Because I have a PA child, as with everyone else here, our dealings with the school a lot of times have to be almost exclusively to do with PA. Or, we might have other things that we have to deal with the school about our children's education, as I did this year when I finally got an IEP for my one child.

And I guess my *mission* in life or focus, has certainly been PA, because that's here every day for us.

I just really wanted to branch out and get involved in something else that I feel is really important - children going hungry to school when there is no need for it. I can't change how parents spend their money. I can't change a lot of social factors that play into all of this. But the one thing I could do was present the school with the knowledge of Breakfast for Learning where there was Federal and Provincial funding available for children, in need, to receive FREE breakfast.

I thought of the children that I normally serve this morning and how the program was closed and how at least two of them wouldn't be going.

I also thought about the children that wanted to go to something special and couldn't afford to go.

And I remembered three years ago when we were closing the program for the Christmas holidays, how we made sure that each of the children went home with a box of cereal and something else out of the freezer to help them get through the holiday season.

No one can tell me that children in need living in the country are any different than children in need in the city and I know that the failure of this program lies solely with this woman.

Aside from e-mailing her, I'm just trying to figure out what my next step could be.

But it's terribly disheartening. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img]

Happy Holidays! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------ "That was Polanski. Nicholson got his nose cut."