About the program:
The Summer Snack Program originated in 1988 when two teachers realized that although children had access to lunch programs during the school year, they did not have access to this critical service during the summer months. They approached the Saskatoon and District Labour Council (SDLC) with this concern and the Summer Snack Program was born. The Program’s aim is to provide healthy lunches to children who might otherwise go hungry.
The SDLC Summer Snack Program has grown over the years and is currently providing lunches at six core neighbourhood parks. The Program also partners with Saskatoon Public School Foundation's Reading Program and United Way and Greater Saskatoon Catholic School's Summer Success Literacy Camps providing in-kind breakfasts, lunches, and snacks.
Each summer the SDLC hires staff to coordinate, prepare, deliver and serve lunches, 7 days a week, during July and August. Although the program is geared towards children, an increasing numbers of adults also access the program. No one is turned away.
A typical lunch consists of a whole-wheat sandwich, fruit, vegetables, milk, fruit juice, cheddar cheese and a yogurt tube. Children and adults alike are impressed with the wide variety of fruit and vegetables – many have never even seen some of the choices offered. The Coordinators also bake to provide a tasty afternoon snack for the children a couple of times a week.
Often is it more than bringing lunch – the kids look forward to the friendship, leadership and stability that the coordinators provide. Strong bonds form and the children learn positive life habits such as recycling and reusing materials.
The Summer Snack Program has a strong environmental component: the program uses paper supplies; children reuse their cups if they want a drink refill; and the coordinators use reusable cloth grocery bags to transport fruit and vegetables.
SDLC Summer Snack Program is a registered charitable organization with the Canada Revenue Agency. The Program’s success and sustainability is due in large part to the generous financial donations from the SDLC affiliated unions and some non-affiliated unions.
Over the past few years, the SDLC has received an annual grant through the Saskatoon Collaborative Funding Partnership. The City of Saskatoon and United Way of Saskatoon and Area sit at this table and both organizations have provided these additional resources which have significantly helped in expanding the program.
This program continues to receive significant in-kind donations from local businesses and organizations. Summer Snack supports unionized grocery stores when supplies need to be purchased. The program also relies on volunteers who donate their time to help prepare and serve lunches.
2018 Summer Snack Highlights
A total of 11,690 nutritious meals plus snacks were served at 6 core neighbourhood parks and other locations between July 2 and August 28 including:
- 630 bagged lunches to 9 Agriculture in the Classroom garden sites
- 2250 meals and snacks were prepared for Saskatoon Public School Foundation’s Summer Reading Camp
- 3000 meals and snacks were delivered to Summer Success
- 1125 meals and snacks were delivered to St. Mary’s Fitness Camp
- Christie’s Bakery donated 10 loaves of bread 5 days a week
- P & H Milling donated 60 loaves of bread
- Thomas Fresh donated 5 to 7 cases fruit/week
- Federated Co-operatives Limited (Warehouse division) provided and delivered generous amounts of food and supplies
- The Saskatoon Public School Board donated the use of W.P. Bates school nutrition room for prep work, storage and baking
3 sponsored pizza days occurred – one day each by Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress – Prairie Region, CUPE Saskatchewan
SEIU-West and STM Faculty Union each sponsored an ice-cream day
Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation Summer Reading Camp reached out to the Program to provide bagged lunches for their students for a 2 week period. The camp’s aim is to work on preventing ‘summer slip’. Teachers provide students with skills that enhance fluency, rate, comprehension and writing ability.
Summer Success also approached Summer Snack to provide breakfasts, lunches and snacks for their programs. In partnership with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) and Saskatoon Public Schools (SPS), United Way of Saskatoon and Area funded Summer Success programs in to avoid ‘summer slide’. Teachers provided supportive learning aimed at maintaining or improving students’ literacy levels at the camps. One camp focused on helping migrant children develop their English language skills.