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Port Alberni Toy Run bolsters high school breakfast programs’ budget

After ‘very good year’ Toy Run doubles donation for ADSS Breakfast Room
Port Alberni Toy Run members Greg Philpott, left, Dan Vatamaniuck, David Wiwchar and Charmaine Mulvey present Melody Burton of the ADSS Breakfast Club program and ADSS vice-principal Carl Poole with a cheque for $5,000. The Toy Run has supported the Breakfast Club for 15 years. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

When a key grant fell through for the Alberni District Secondary School Breakfast Club this year, program head Melody Burton knew who to call for help.

On Wednesday, members of the Port Alberni Toy Run were at ADSS to present a cheque for $5,000 to the breakfast club program. It’s something the club has been doing for the past 15 years, and answering the call for emergency funding was a no-brainer, club members said.

“Since the start of the program we’ve donated $47,500,” president and lifetime member David Wiwchar said. “We’re doubling our donation this year. “It fits our mandate of supporting children, youth and families; especially youth who need a helping hand.

“We’ve seen stats on how beneficial breakfast programs are to graduation rates,” he added.

Toy Run members already donated $5,000 at the beginning of the school year.

“We had a really good year last year,” said Greg Philpott, which enabled the organization of motorcycle riders and philanthropists to make the second donation.

The breakfast club’s annual operating budget runs a tight $50,000 per year, and often higher than that. There are 400 students per day who eat breakfast at the high school and another 120 at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre—which the ADSS Breakfast Club also supports.The Breakfast Club room also has a free store offering food and personal hygiene items, even clothing.

There are 43 classrooms at ADSS offering food for any student that is hungry. “The kids are going crazy for apples right now,” Burton said. “We can’t keep them in stock.”

In one record year they handed out 30,000 apples. They also go through 2,100 granola bars in a week. “We’ve gone through 20,000 to 25,000 bagels a year. It’s a lot of food.”

The breakfast club is just one program at the high school that has benefited from Toy Run donations this school year. Toy Run also supports the wrestling teams, donated $500 to a Grade 8 wellness program, and recently gave the band program $2,000 to repair and replace musical instruments.

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Susie Quinn

About the Author: Susie Quinn

A journalist since 1987, I proudly serve as the Alberni Valley News editor.
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