Bluewater District School Board

Bluewater's Ontario Student Nutrition Program Still Thriving page

Ontario Student Nutrition Program Still Thriving

Ontario Student Nutrition Program Still Thriving
Posted on 03/29/2023
Trustee Atkinson presenting at podium with Bev Gateman and board staffTrustee Atkinson at podium with Bev Gateman (left) and board staffAt the March 21, 2023 Regular Meeting of the Board, trustees viewed a presentation on the Ontario Student Nutrition Program (OSNP), and its vital role in supporting student development through providing the essentials of daily nutrition in schools.

Attending as a special guest was Bev Gateman, who has served as the local coordinator and leader of the OSNP for schools in Grey and Bruce counties.  The evening was a bittersweet opportunity to bid farewell and honour Bev as she retires following many years of dedication to student nutrition.

A pillar in creating and implementing nutrition programs and various nutrition-themed initiatives across our schools, Bev has been instrumental in ensuring thousands of students can access nutritious snacks and meals daily.  She first recognized the need for food programs in schools while employed at the Bruce County Family Resource Centre in Walkerton, having her interest sparked from an article in Family Circle magazine. 

Over the years, Bev’s role has been supported through the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) as a lead agency for Ontario student nutrition.  However, her important work has extended well beyond the duties of coordination.  Her efforts have also included teaching students and staff about nutrition, grant applications, volunteer recruitment, organizing menus, soliciting support and donations from local businesses, programs, and community organizations, leading campaigns such as Toonies for Tummies and Smile Cookies, and much more. 

Trustee Tracy-Lynn Atkinson shared a heartfelt message of thanks, and recounted her personal experience working with Bev, which began at Spruce Ridge Community School.  
Bluewater District School Board thanks Bev for all her tireless work and leadership over the years prioritizing the well-being of students, by helping to ensure their minds are ready for learning in a safe and supportive environment.

As one of 14 lead agencies with Student Nutrition Ontario, VON helps to administer provincial grant funding in support of healthy breakfast, snack, and lunch programs that ensure students across the province attend school well nourished and ready to learn.  The OSNP believes in a universal program that is open to all students.  There are many reasons why children and youth arrive at school without eating breakfast other than household food insecurity.  This also includes, but is not limited to:

- Early morning extracurricular activities
- Lack of time in the morning
- Lack of appetite upon rising
- Long commutes to school
- Getting ready on their own in the morning
- Preferring to eat breakfast with their peers
- They are growing and just hungry


Learn more about the OSNP Grey-Bruce at
Trustee Atkinson with food cart in gymnasium
Bluewater District School Board is located on the traditional land of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, which is represented by the communities of Saugeen First Nation and Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
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