Michelle Berardinetti, a member of Toronto's budget committee, said she will try next month to stop cuts to school nutrition programs in the city.
"It's something I think is a basic," the Scarborough Southwest councillor said recently.
"You have much more attentive students when they've been fed."
The committee reviews the city's operating budget - which includes a $380,000 cut in support for the nutrition programs - on Jan. 9 before it goes to Toronto Council for approval.
By then, Berardinetti said, detailed examination may find enough money to restore the city's contribution. "There's hopefully some good news coming in."
She met on Monday with parents at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School and Regent Heights Junior Public School, both of which are in her ward and among 58 nutrition programs threatened by the proposed cut.
Berardinetti also saw healthy snacks prepared and served at another school in her ward, Walter Perry Junior, where the program isn't threatened.
Food at the schools is also supported by donations from parents and the provincial government.
Some children at schools chosen for a program may simply rush to school without eating breakfast, but others may not have food at home, she said. "We can't blame the child for that."
By serving all students, those who have food and those who don't, the programs avoid shame and embarrassment, said Berardinetti, suggesting sponsorships by local businesses could expand the program to more schools.
Parents could receive a list of companies contributing to nutrition programs in their ward, she said. "Some businesses I talked to seem really interested."
- Mike Adler