"A week ago there were 57 kids who came for breakfast," said Brenda Melnyk , co-ordinator of Elwick Community School's breakfast program.
Melnyk said the program started 20 years ago in response to evidence that hunger was competing for children's attention.
If you're hungry, all you can think about is lunch, said Melnyk.
It's not just the children of unemployed parents who attend the program, said Melnyk, children of working poor families attend as well.
The Winnipeg school is located near Manitoba housing units in the Maples neighbourhood.
On a typical morning, the school feeds between 30 and 40 children breakfast, said Melnyk, adding that about 10 children come everyday and others use the program sporadically.
Children from Kindergarten to Grade 5 start arriving in the breakfast room at around 8 a.m. and the doors stay open until 8:50 a.m. According to Melnyk, children in the higher grades have all-day access to toast and other foods in their classrooms.
The program receives sponsorship from Breakfast for Learning, which is a Manitoba-based organization that supports child nutrition programs.
Child povertyAccording to the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Manitoba and B.C. are the child poverty capitals of Canada, which means in our province about one in five children grow up in poverty.
Every school division in the city has schools that host food programs like Elwick's. And Winnipeg Harvest distributes food to 26 schools across the city, said a Winnipeg Harvest spokesperson.
Ten years ago, Winnipeg Harvest fed 5,500 children each month. Now they feed 19,523 children a month.