Herma Brown runs “her” kitchen like a well-oiled machine. “Everything has its place and it is essential that everything is put back where it belongs” says Brown, an Educational Assistant at Prince Edward Pubic School. The student volunteers that work with Brown understand the importance of being organized and efficient.
Led by Ms. Brown and a team of community, teacher and student volunteers, Prince Edward’s Breakfast and Snack program serves a full, healthy breakfast to approximately 100 students each day and provides the entire school body with in-classroom snacks.
Each morning before school starts, students are treated to warm, home cooked meals such as pancakes, French toast and Prince Edward’s own egg sandwich. The Snack Program runs throughout the school day with variety of healthy snacks being delivered to the students’ classrooms. Each student has the opportunity to enjoy such snacks as carrots and dip and even some more exotic treats such as kiwi and pineapple.
The Prince Edward Breakfast Program has made many transformations throughout the years. The most recent change was moving from the First Lutheran Church across the street to operating a fully functional kitchen at Prince Edward. This new on-site kitchen has been made possible through such grants and community support as Breakfast for Learning, Good Fellows, Forgotten Harvest and the Ontario Student Nutrition Program. Windsor and Essex County community businesses have also donated money and equipment. “All Prince Edward Students are welcome to enjoy our nutritious and delicious food,” says Brown. “Students need a healthy breakfast and snacks throughout the day in order to be focused on lessons,” Brown says. “If I can do my part, I will.”
It has become Brown’s niche, a place where she can volunteer her time and show her love for the students. The students sure feel Brown’s and the volunteers’ love. “Ms. Brown’s fresh banana loaf reminds me of my Grandma’s homemade banana bread,” says Cloey Bennet, a Grade Seven student, one of the many Breakfast and Snack Program volunteers.
While Brown is warm-hearted, she does not fit the quiet, soft spoken grandma stereotype. She is loud and full of personality, teaching her student volunteers the essential life skills they will need in the workplace. “I don’t mess around,” Brown says. “When you are feeding all of the children that we do, you have to run the kitchen like a well- oiled machine. I’m also teaching the students who volunteer with me important work habits and skills they will hopefully use later in life.”
Jennifer Minovski, Key Communicator, Prince Edward Public School