Monsignor Fraser College, a Daily Bread member agency since 2001, focuses on helping at-risk teenagers and young adults aged 16-20 complete their high school education, with some students travelling outside of the city’s limits in order to get to class. Many of the students live in low-income, single-parent households and often rely on food banks to get through the summer months.
Angela Carnovale is a Child and Youth worker at Monsignor Fraser College, and has been running the meal program at the Norfinch Campus since 2006. She is an advocate and familiar face for the students taking part in the program, and plays an important role in helping to foster a sense of community. “Being a Child and Youth worker, you begin to learn the stories of each kid, and establish a relationship with them”, says Angie, “they come to me to talk about their personal difficulties, their need for housing referrals, clothing, support with social assistance applications, etc., and it is then that you begin to really see the broader connection of all these elements to hunger.”
Despite the continuous challenges often faced by staff running these programs, the need for food and support can’t be ignored. As summer arrives and the school year comes to a close, students worry about where their next meal will come from. “It’s hard knowing that the food supply won’t last in the summer,” says a student, who has been accessing the meal program since 2017. Many of the students are embarrassed to speak up about their need for food, and often suffer the effects of hunger silently.
The staff at Monsignor Fraser College work hard to create an open and safe space for students and find creative ways to ensure support is available even when resources are scarce, like creating a separate space in an unused room for students to feel comfortable accessing food without feeling afraid of being singled out, helping students navigate government resources and applications and helping them search job postings for their parents. As a result of these efforts, strong connections are made and a sense of trust develops for these students who have faced many difficulties in their life. Many of the students also become resources for others, and have the opportunity to take an active role in the program, giving them a sense of purpose and empowerment.
At Daily Bread, we are proud to partner with agencies and individuals that are serving our community in such a powerful way. The staff at Monsignor Fraser are true advocates in the fight against hunger and poverty and we applaud what they do each day to support those who need it most.
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