Above: Principals and staff from Morinville Community High School, Georges H. Primeau, École Notre Dame, and Morinville Public School received a cheque from No Frills owners Chris and Tracey Mansbridge Sept. 29. The monies will be used for the schools hot lunch programs.

– Stephen Dafoe Photo

by Stephen Dafoe

For the third year in a row, local students have the certainty of a hot meal at school thanks to the generosity of No Frills owners Chris and Tracey Mansbridge, their staff, and customers. The local business owners presented representatives from four of Morinville’s schools with a cheque for $3,244. The monies will be divided equally between Morinville Community High School, Georges H. Primeau, École Notre Dame, and Morinville Public School.

“Every year we get a chance to pick something local that we can fundraise through the till and give back,” No Frills coowner Chris Mansbridge said. “For the past three years we’ve chosen to do the hot lunch program at the schools. We divided it equally amongst the four of them. Making sure kids have a hot lunch when they are going to school is important. With a lot of our employees being from one of the schools in town, we like to give back that way.”

Mansbridge said the $3200 was raised in just two weeks by asking customers if they wanted to make a $2 donation at the checkout.

“It’s great when we do stuff like this that they are able to support us,” he said. “It goes back to the community, so it is good.”

Representatives from the four schools were on hand Sept. 29 for the cheque presentation. Each was grateful to the store and customers for the assistance.

“The program is for a great need for all the schools,” said MCHS teacher Terry Maslyk. “I know at MCHS we have more students than anyone would think that have needs for nutrition during the day and come to school without a lunch. It’s a pretty big financial expense throughout the year. None of this is within budget … so it is a great help to have this type of money.”

Morinville Public School Principal Wayne Rufiange said he was also grateful for the contribution to his school’s program.

“We see a lot of value in it [the program] for our families that need a little extra support,” he said. “We have a few kids that are accessing breakfast in the morning, and we have some parents and staff making lunches for students. This support helps us out to meet the needs of those needy families.”

École Notre Dame Principal Raymonde Roulston said the school’s lunch program and the contribution were essential to the school. “It’s really important that our kids come to school with lunches so that they are able to do what they need to do during the day,” Roulston said. “Without the community support it seems sometimes that it is hard for us to meet those needs. This is certainly appreciated for us for our school and for our kids.”

Georges H. Primeau Middle School Principal Allan Menduk said his school has both a breakfast and a lunch program and also make snacks available during the day if needed. He said his school’s share of the $3200 donation would pay for approximately 250 lunches.

Like his educational colleagues at the other schools, Menduk said he is appreciative of the donation and the ability to fill a significant need at his school.

“We do have a number of students that do come to school hungry or do not have sufficient food,” he said. “So we want to make sure our students are prepared to learn, whether it’s having a good breakfast, a good lunch or a combination of both.”

Public donations to school lunch programs can be made by contacting any of Morinville’s schools.

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