It's been said many times over - no child should go to school hungry.
We have all heard that mantra, but have you done anything to ensure children in Lethbridge and area actually head to class with a full stomach?
Many in Lethbridge have, and on Wednesday, Nov. 21, two employees at Scotiabank's 13 Street North location did their part, on behalf of the entire branch and the corporation as a whole.
Scotiabank dropped off a cheque for $4,200 for The Lethbridge Herald's Food for Thought campaign, funds collected at the Fernando Varela concert earlier this year at The Yates.
Louanne Matlock, personal banking officer at the northside Scotiabank, met local concert promoter Ron Sakamoto and Herald publisher Coleen Campbell through the organization of the event, and support for the Food for Thought campaign soon followed.
It was a no-brainer for the bank branch, which has a history of supporting in-school causes, according to Bobby Zaremba, branch manager, who added Scotiabank's Feed the Children program has been supporting city schools for years.
"We're a small branch, so we decided we wanted to give back to the students."
Scotiabank also has a Bright Future program, she added, and the contribution to an initiative like Food for Thought was a natural local fit.
"We just decided at the northside branch we wanted to stick with the children," said Zaremba.
"We want to support projects that have an impact on the community we live in."
It all started with Lily Crabb, a Scotiabank client who worked at Wilson Middle School. Matlock said when Crabb passed away, the branch wanted to do something to support that school, and other northside schools. With that, Scotiabank's work with youngsters in the community began.
Since the branch's fundraising efforts began, Matlock has learned just how deep the problem runs, in terms of students not getting the proper start to their day.
"We had no idea that per day, per school, 15-20 kids go to school with no lunch or breakfast," she said. "That hit me hard."
"No child should go without food - that should just not happen," added Zaremba.
But it does happen, and even the bank's clients were surprised with some of the facts and figures, according to Zaremba, as the branch promoted Food for Thought and even had its windows painted to encourage donations. She added some people even wrote a cheque right on the spot to support the cause.
"I think it really opened a lot of people's eyes."
Matlock said one parent even brought their young son to the bank to thank them for Scotiabank's financial support.
So now, the task of helping more local students continues, as The Herald's Food for Thought campaign aims to support breakfast and lunch programs at city schools. The first five years of the program have been a success, as many individuals and organizations have supported the cause.
All money raised is directed to the Lethbridge Public School District No. 51 and the Holy Spirit Catholic School Division. The divisions, in turn, distribute the funds to needy schools.
Donations can be made between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at The Herald at 504 7 St. S., or by mail at Lethbridge Herald, P.O. Box 670, Lethbridge, AB, T1J 3Z7. Cheques can be made payable to The Lethbridge Herald Charitable Foundation. Tax receipts are available upon request, for donations greater than $5.
Donors will be recognized in this column - which runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday throughout the campaign - unless they prefer to donate anonymously.