Stop the City policy forbidding PCH from eating separate from the overcrowded lunchroom
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In 2010, The City of Toronto Children's Services implemented a new policy that stated “children are expected to remain at school for the lunch period on instructional days.” This new policy meant that daycares operating inside Toronto District School Board (TDSB) schools were no longer permitted to offer a lunch programme as part of their services. Existing daycares, such as Pape Children's House (PCH), entered into a grandfather clause that allowed them to continue to offer the lunch programme but stipulated that any expansion of the programme would forfeit the exception and make them subject to the new City of Toronto Children's Services mandate.
In 2017, PCH expanded the school-age programme to accommodate a growing need for childcare services, services that have been recognized as in high demand and short supply in the Province of Ontario. Rather than applaud their effort to help solve the daycare crisis in Toronto, the City of Toronto and the TDSB have taken this opportunity to force PCH to forfeit eligibility for the lunch programme that is offered to school-age children. This has raised several concerns among many of the Pape Ave Jr. Public School parents, including those that are part of the PCH programme and those that are not.
Food insecurity for Ontario children is a BIG issue and this new policy will contribute to its growth. In a survey conducted in 2012, The Ontario Association of Food Banks found that 38.7% or 159,918 people accessing the food banks services were children. Food bank use is at an all-time high and represents a serious issue in our society as it often affects the most vulnerable. The lunch programme at PCH is catered by a local company, Real Food for Real Kids (https://rfrk.com/ who provide a variety of safe, nutritious and healthy meals prepared and delivered fresh daily. Through this lunch programme children that might not otherwise have healthy choices, or in some cases any choices at all, are able to gain access to the kinds of nutritious meals that help young bodies and minds grow.
The main Pape Jr. Public School lunchroom is experiencing an issue with overcrowding and being unsafe. There are meetings currently being conducted amongst Parent Council and the principal, Karen Jordan, to strategize ways to alleviate the chaos and safety issues BUT unless new policy is introduced at the city level the safety of children and staff will continue to decline. This new policy that will take affect this September, 2018 will contribute to its decline at rapid speed with the sudden inclusion of the multiple students enrolled at PCH. Staff at Pape Jr. Public School can’t handle the size of the current group at lunchtime so adding more kids to this unsafe environment puts ALL CHILDREN at Pape Jr. Public School in harm’s way.
This petition has been started to communicate to the necessary stakeholders that all parents with children enrolled at Pape Ave. Jr. Public School are on the same page. We ALL want a safe environment for our children while at school including during lunchtime and adding additional children to an already crowded lunchroom environment will contribute to the decline and safety of all children.
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