Welcome back, Fern Families:
Fern’s hot-lunch program has served more than 23,000 lunches this year to students from JK to grade 8, teachers and staff. Meals are prepared on-site by TDSB Nutrition Services, and the volunteer-led Fern Food Committee hands the administration of the lunch orders for:
- all kindergarten students (including those in Ferncliff Daycare); please note that kindergarten students will be eating lunches in their classroom
- school-aged children who are not enrolled in Daycare or who do not receive a lunch from Ferncliff
Lunches for Ferncliff Daycare children in pre-school and grades 1 and up, will be processed by Ferncliff.
To support a financially viable program, a full one-month commitment is required to confirm daily quantities and ensure cost-effective ordering, administration and preparation. Parents who wish to start the next school year off with healthy and tasty lunches for their children may do so by submitting their lunch orders by Thursday, June 29th, 2017 (see order form). Sign up now and then forget about it during the Summer! In September, TDSB Nutrition Services will continue to offer a 4-week menu rotation featuring items such as BBQ chicken, sweet potato lentil curry, burger with oven baked fries, chicken noodle soup, cod fish nuggets, kale Caesar salad, falafels, chicken tikka masala and pita pizza. All meals have a vegetarian option and include 2% milk, and a piece of fresh fruit or a vegetable side.
Families have the option of paying either a monthly fee based on the number of meals served per month (@$4.00 per meal); or $70 per month for those who wish to commit for the whole school year with 10 post-dated cheques or a single bulk payment, or any combination of month’s combined. (The latter saves parents’ time, money – $48 over the course of the year – and stress by handing over the year’s lunch duty to Fern, and it also makes the administration easier for the Food Committee.) You can also commit to the first four months for reduced rate of $290. Please note that once lunch orders are submitted, refunds and credit cannot be given due to sick days, field trips, etc. We require a full calendar month’s cancellation notice should a family choose to discontinue the program and is enrolled for the full year.
Lunch orders and payments can be dropped off in a secure wall-mounted deposit box installed just outside the Ferncliff Daycare office (Room 103). This allows parents to deposit orders directly into the lockbox outside of school office hours.
The Food Committee is also looking for volunteers! The lunch program is a volunteer-driven initiative. Parents who have been volunteering with the program have found it to be a rewarding experience, from seeing how excited the kids are to be eating delicious food (and trying foods they never eat at home!), to engaging with parents and being part of the hub that helps sustain the program through collaboration with the school, the Toronto District School Board and School Council.
There are many opportunities for parents to get involved both in the lunchroom and on the committee, including:
- helping serve lunch in the cafeteria where you get the chance to interact with the kids (and maybe sneak in a hug or wink to yours);
- development and co-ordination of the Kindergarten snack program
- supporting parent engagement and outreach through communications activities and volunteer coordination; and
- program development, administration and financial management of the overall program.
Your own children do not have to be in the lunch program for you to be a volunteer. This is a fun way to help the school, be a part of the Fern community, form great relationships with other parents, and stay connected to Fern in support of healthy food, a healthy school and a healthy community!
We are pleased that we can continue to offer this great program for the students at Fern and wish to thank our fabulous student and parent volunteers, staff and administration, and participating families for making the program a success. Fern believes that this lunch program delivers many benefits and we encourage you to participate in it and support healthy and delicious eating at Fern Avenue Public School.
For more information, please contact
Fern Food Committee
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can my Kindergarten child get a hot lunch at Fern?
A: Yes, all students at Fern can get a hot lunch. The Fern Avenue Public School Food Committee, composed of parent volunteers, will administer the lunch program for all kindergarten and school-aged kids not enrolled in Ferncliff daycare.
Q: Who runs the lunch program?
A: The program is a not-for-profit collaborative effort with TDSB Nutrition Services preparing the delicious and nutritious lunches in-house, and the Fern Food Committee administering it. The TDSB, Toronto Foundation for Student Success and School Council also support the program.
Q: How much does it cost to sign up for the lunch program?
A: Families enrolled in the Lunch program pay a monthly fee based on the number of meals served per month. In 2017-18, the cost will be $4.00 per meal. Those families who wished to commit for the whole school year are offered a discounted monthly fee of $70. The latter saves parents’ time, money – $48 over the year – and stress by handing over the year’s lunch duty to Fern, and it also makes the administration more efficient.
Q: I heard that there was a grant for the lunch program, where are those funds going?
A: The Fern Lunch Program applies for funding from the Toronto Foundation for Student Success, which helps us support children in need. Families may contact the school vice-principal, Ms. Lindita Guffin, on a confidential basis to discuss the possibility of subsidy for their children.
Q: Do the lunches meet Ontario’s nutrition standards for schools?
A: Yes, TDSB Nutrition Services is mandated to follow the provincial nutrition policy and adhere to the Nutrition Standards developed by Registered Dietitians at Toronto Public Health. The kitchen and menus will be inspected by Toronto Public Health on a regular basis.
Q: How do I sign my Kindergarten child up to start hot lunches in September?
A: Families who have registered a child for Kindergarten at Fern will receive an information package in the mail during the summer. This will contain an order form and menu. Parents can also pick up an order form and menu from the school office in June. The next month’s order form and menu are posted online. The deadline to order lunches is generally the 15th of the month prior, to allow sufficient time to have appropriate food quantities.
Q: Is there a vegetarian option?
A: Yes, on the order form please can write "vegetarian" on the bottom row and the kitchen will offer your child a vegetarian meal. Generally, the vegetarian option has the same flavour profile as the meat offering, but with a vegetarian alternative such as falafels, or seasoned tofu.
Q: How can I get involved in the lunch program?
A: We are always looking for volunteers to help serve the lunches, sit on the Food Committee and promote participation in the lunch program to make it a success. Please contact if you are interested.
Q: Who can I contact if I have any other questions?
A: For more detailed information on the lunch program, please visit the school website, or contact the Student Nutrition Program Co-ordinator at .