Chef Rick Moore helps keep kids like the students in Ms. Hovi’s class, happy and productive through WCS’ lunch program.

Tofino invests in healthy lunches for students

“It’s a really vital program for the children in this community.”

School is tough enough for kids without growling stomachs distracting them.

Chef Rick Moore is helping to keep Wickaninnish Community School students on track by dishing out deliciously nutritious lunches everyday through the school’s lunch program.

“He’s called the lunch lady at the school. He works five days a week and prepares over 130 lunches daily from scratch,” Samantha Fyleris told the Westerly News. “It’s a really vital program for the children in this community…You can’t learn or really do much on an empty stomach, especially when you’re little.”

Fyleris is a member of the school’s Parent Advisory Committee, which manages the lunch program.

She said School District 70 contributes some funding towards it, but those dollars need to be topped up with local donations.

“It wouldn’t exist without donations,” she said adding local support has been strong. “I think everyone understands that the kids are growing up here they’re part of our community they’re part of families who live here and work here…It’s an important thing and it’s meaningful. No one wants to see any children going hungry. It’s an easy program to program to contribute to. It’s a no brainer. No matter what your beliefs are, children eating touches all of us. No one will disagree that it’s important.”

She added the school is “extremely” grateful for the help it receives and said she hopes to see that support grow.

“Aside from fulfilling the basic need of feeding the children, it facilitates the jobs of the staff because imagine teaching people who are hungry or distracted all day; not an easy job,” she said. “The school’s reputation is growing. There’s a lot of cool things happening and a lot of dedicated staff and parents. We’re in a good place but we need to continue being in a good place.”

The school’s PAC launched the lunch program in 2012 and has been thrilled with the donations coming in from local sources like the Tofino Saltwater Classic, which, Fyleris said, gave $16,000 to the program last year. She added the Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Council has donated $5,000 for the second year in a row, Duffin Cove Resort and Stay Tofino each recently donated over $500, the Tofino Co-Op donates fresh produce to the cause and Tourism Tofino helps generate funds through the FourFrames Photo Booth at the Tofino Food and Wine Festival. She said the Coastal Community Credit Union is also a key supporter.

“We’re also fortunate to receive donations from individuals in the community,” she added.

Anyone interested in contributing to the lunch program is encouraged to reach out to the school at 250-725-3254.