Serving up food for thought, forging a sense of family

Norman Wells school’s breakfast program stimulates active minds, nurtures a sense of togetherness

The family that eats together stays together.

It’s a time-tested truth around the dinner table at home—and it also kicks in during breakfast time at Mackenzie Mountain School.

Since 2005, the JK-to-12 school in Norman Wells, Northwest Territories has been operating a daily breakfast program, available to all of its students.

It’s not only food for thought, since a full tummy stimulates an active mind, but the nourishment also nurtures a sense of togetherness.

“Having this program makes the school feel like a big family,” says Jillian Brown, principal at Mackenzie Mountain School. “The kids all eat together at tables in the foyer or the kitchen until the first bell . . . our senior students are very helpful, and will help serve breakfast and do things like put jam and peanut butter on the toast of the younger kids.”

The Mackenzie Mountain breakfast program, run by staff and volunteer parents, serves a cold breakfast—fruit, cereal and milk, toast and jam and peanut butter—four days a week, and ramps it up Fridays with a hot offering of pancakes or French toast with bacon or sausages.

“As a teacher, I really enjoy the program, because I find it’s an opportunity for me to connect and get to know all the students in the school,” says Brown. “I teach high school, but I get to see and talk with all the kids—even the ones in junior kindergarten.”

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Enbridge is committed to improving the quality of life in communities near our operations and projects, including the Line 21 (Norman Wells Pipeline) Segment Replacement Project.

Mackenzie Mountain’s daily breakfast—which we support through a recent $1,000 donation, as well as employee volunteer cooking shifts on Fridays—is one of several nutritional programs across Canada that Enbridge is sponsoring during the 2017-18 school year through our ongoing Community Investment activities. They include:

  • Toast, cereal and fruit at Outlook, SK, High School (a $2,500 donation);
  • A hot lunch program at Mother Earth’s Children’s Charter School, near Stony Plain, AB ($50,000);
  • Breakfast programs at Manitoba’s Kinonjeoshtegon First Nation and Lake Manitoba First Nation ($10,000);
  • A classroom fruit program at Vulcan, AB, Prairieview Elementary ($1,000);
  • A hot lunch program at Dorion, ON, Public School, which served more than 1,500 nutritious lunches last year and led to the creation of a weekly student baking club ($3,500); and
  • A morning breakfast and hot lunch program at Meskanahk Ka Nipa Wit School in Maskwacis, AB ($2,500).

Numerous research studies have concluded that a good breakfast is directly linked to better academic performance, improved memory and more positive social relationships.

“Over the years, our teachers have noticed a positive impact on focus, attention and overall attitude,” says Brown. “We know that a number of our students are coming to school without breakfast each morning.

“This program ensures that all the students have had something to eat, and as a result, are in a better position to learn.”