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A small idea leads to food security for LRSD students

A small idea leads to food security for LRSD students
Raegan Lazzarotto’s persistence and passion led to a donation to provide food security for students in Livingstone Range School Division.
Raegan Lazzarotto’s persistence and passion led to a donation to provide food security for students in Livingstone Range School Division.
IMAGE: Shannon Peace
Twelve-year-old Raegan Lazzarotto’s persistence and passion, and some help from her mom, Daina, led to a donation that will help with food insecurity for students in Livingstone Range School Division.
IMAGE: Shannon Peace
Twelve-year-old Raegan Lazzarotto’s persistence and passion, and some help from her mom, Daina, led to a donation that will help with food insecurity for students in Livingstone Range School Division.

A small idea leads to food security for LRSD students

By Shannon Peace
By Shannon Peace
Publisher
Shootin’ the Breeze Publisher
March 11, 2024
March 11, 2024

Last spring, Raegan Lazzaratto noticed some classmates at Livingstone School bringing lunches that lacked nutritional substance — sometimes only a banana or an orange. Recognizing a problem, the Grade 5 student set out to find a solution with help from her mom, Daina.

What began as a small mission to help other kids at her own school led to a $75,000 donation to the Livingstone Range School Division from Northback Holdings.

Last spring, the mother and daughter’s first plan was to overpack Raegan’s lunch. This provided an opportunity to share extra food with anyone needing it. Despite the best of intentions, Raegan learned that accepting generosity wasn’t always as easy for others as it was for her to offer.

“Then we thought, hey, let’s start this thing so everyone else can have food,” she says, reflecting on the shift from a small gesture of kindness to one with greater impact.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually wanted to do this,” she noted after the program was unveiled Monday. “It feels good that I could do something like that.”

What she did is definitely something Raegan, her family and her community can all appreciate and be proud of.

Her drive to support as many youths as possible led to an amazing outcome after Raegan and her mom put their heads together and came up with a proposal.

“I think I started noticing it [students in need of nutritious meals] around this time of year and we worked on it up until now,” says Raegan, who is now in Grade 6.

 

Ad for Aurora Eggert Coaching in Beaver Mines

 

They hoped to have assistance in place for September, but there was considerable legwork to do. Daina researched food insecurity in the school division and eventually requested a financial gift from her employer, Northback Holdings Corp.

She proposed a $75,000 donation and says CEO Mike Young got behind the project right away. The hope was that a donation of this size would meet Raegan’s goal of helping many students.

In December, the ask was made to Hancock Prospecting, Northback’s parent company. It was approved immediately and the money was available to Livingstone Range School Division in early January.

“They loved the proposal, in which I shared Raegan’s story, and jumped on it right away, no questions asked,” says Daina.

An announcement was made in early February and officially presented to the Livingstone School community during an assembly on Monday. The Sabres’ gymnasium was filled with teachers, the kindergarten to Grade 12 population and several special guests.

Raegan felt good about herself afterwards. Before the presentation, only a select few knew it was her idea and passion that had put the wheels in motion.

“I think they were a little bit shocked that I had done that but I think that they felt like, ‘Wow, we’re actually going to get some food,’ ” she says.

Northback’s donation will be an annual one for what Daina says is an undetermined amount of time. With the rising cost of groceries and the cost of living in general, knowing schools have nutritional resources could reduce food security stress for many families.

Northback has handed the reins to the school division, believing the administrators know best what resources are needed and where.

“There’s no catch,” Daina says. “The division has the opportunity to use the finances as it sees fit to offer nutrition programs to its schools.”

According to LRSD, the donation will provide food for about 1,000 students. Most schools in the division receive provincial nutrition grants from the Breakfast Club of Canada.

This new funding will support seven schools not receiving Breakfast Club dollars. Along with Livingstone School in Lundbreck, these include Canyon School in Pincher Creek, Horace Allen and Isabelle Sellon schools in Crowsnest Pass, West Meadow Elementary and Will Creek Composite High in Claresholm, and Stavely Elementary.

 

 

While Livingstone School makes food available in the classrooms, it does not have a formal breakfast program.

“In talks with our nutrition co-ordinator, she would like to implement a full breakfast program — that’s the kind of change we’re hoping to see,” says Daina.

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Chelsae Petrovic said Raegan’s story left her speechless and almost in tears. She believes children will have a greater opportunity to thrive and focus on academics and sports.

“I know the importance of what it truly means for the kids,” she said after Monday’s presentation. “I think, too, for parents to know that if they are facing food insecurity, to know that their children are going to be fed at school.”

“When we look at the small wins in life, even if we’re feeding one child or two children, that’s two less hungry children,” she added. “To feed 1,000 is a huge win.”

As evidenced by his expression in the front-page photo, Northback CEO Mike Young is excited about the project.

“We often underestimate the impact of a seemingly simple, yet essential, element — a nutritious breakfast,” he said Monday.

“By supporting the LRSD nutrition program we’re not merely providing a meal, we are investing in the future of our children.”

Twelve-year-old Raegan Lazzarotto has demonstrated that she understands this concept and that she is willing to do the work required to instigate positive change.

“I think she deserves so much credit for caring about her classmates and her school and wanting to make sure everybody is fed,” says her mom.

Raegan’s friends at Livingstone School and all other LRSD schools can be inspired by seeing a peer’s small idea generate a big outcome.

 

Indoor and outdoor view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

 

Last spring, Raegan Lazzaratto noticed some classmates at Livingstone School bringing lunches that lacked nutritional substance — sometimes only a banana or an orange. Recognizing a problem, the Grade 5 student set out to find a solution with help from her mom, Daina.

What began as a small mission to help other kids at her own school led to a $75,000 donation to the Livingstone Range School Division from Northback Holdings.

Last spring, the mother and daughter’s first plan was to overpack Raegan’s lunch. This provided an opportunity to share extra food with anyone needing it. Despite the best of intentions, Raegan learned that accepting generosity wasn’t always as easy for others as it was for her to offer.

“Then we thought, hey, let’s start this thing so everyone else can have food,” she says, reflecting on the shift from a small gesture of kindness to one with greater impact.

“It’s the first time I’ve actually wanted to do this,” she noted after the program was unveiled Monday. “It feels good that I could do something like that.”

What she did is definitely something Raegan, her family and her community can all appreciate and be proud of.

Her drive to support as many youths as possible led to an amazing outcome after Raegan and her mom put their heads together and came up with a proposal.

“I think I started noticing it [students in need of nutritious meals] around this time of year and we worked on it up until now,” says Raegan, who is now in Grade 6.

 

Pump bottles of colourful, natural soaps on ad for Lynden House Market in Pincher Creek

 

They hoped to have assistance in place for September, but there was considerable legwork to do. Daina researched food insecurity in the school division and eventually requested a financial gift from her employer, Northback Holdings Corp.

She proposed a $75,000 donation and says CEO Mike Young got behind the project right away. The hope was that a donation of this size would meet Raegan’s goal of helping many students.

In December, the ask was made to Hancock Prospecting, Northback’s parent company. It was approved immediately and the money was available to Livingstone Range School Division in early January.

“They loved the proposal, in which I shared Raegan’s story, and jumped on it right away, no questions asked,” says Daina.

An announcement was made in early February and officially presented to the Livingstone School community during an assembly on Monday. The Sabres’ gymnasium was filled with teachers, the kindergarten to Grade 12 population and several special guests.

Raegan felt good about herself afterwards. Before the presentation, only a select few knew it was her idea and passion that had put the wheels in motion.

“I think they were a little bit shocked that I had done that but I think that they felt like, ‘Wow, we’re actually going to get some food,’ ” she says.

Northback’s donation will be an annual one for what Daina says is an undetermined amount of time. With the rising cost of groceries and the cost of living in general, knowing schools have nutritional resources could reduce food security stress for many families.

Northback has handed the reins to the school division, believing the administrators know best what resources are needed and where.

“There’s no catch,” Daina says. “The division has the opportunity to use the finances as it sees fit to offer nutrition programs to its schools.”

According to LRSD, the donation will provide food for about 1,000 students. Most schools in the division receive provincial nutrition grants from the Breakfast Club of Canada.

This new funding will support seven schools not receiving Breakfast Club dollars. Along with Livingstone School in Lundbreck, these include Canyon School in Pincher Creek, Horace Allen and Isabelle Sellon schools in Crowsnest Pass, West Meadow Elementary and Will Creek Composite High in Claresholm, and Stavely Elementary.

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

While Livingstone School makes food available in the classrooms, it does not have a formal breakfast program.

“In talks with our nutrition co-ordinator, she would like to implement a full breakfast program — that’s the kind of change we’re hoping to see,” says Daina.

Livingstone-Macleod MLA Chelsae Petrovic said Raegan’s story left her speechless and almost in tears. She believes children will have a greater opportunity to thrive and focus on academics and sports.

“I know the importance of what it truly means for the kids,” she said after Monday’s presentation. “I think, too, for parents to know that if they are facing food insecurity, to know that their children are going to be fed at school.”

“When we look at the small wins in life, even if we’re feeding one child or two children, that’s two less hungry children,” she added. “To feed 1,000 is a huge win.”

As evidenced by his expression in the front-page photo, Northback CEO Mike Young is excited about the project.

“We often underestimate the impact of a seemingly simple, yet essential, element — a nutritious breakfast,” he said Monday.

“By supporting the LRSD nutrition program we’re not merely providing a meal, we are investing in the future of our children.”

Twelve-year-old Raegan Lazzarotto has demonstrated that she understands this concept and that she is willing to do the work required to instigate positive change.

“I think she deserves so much credit for caring about her classmates and her school and wanting to make sure everybody is fed,” says her mom.

Raegan’s friends at Livingstone School and all other LRSD schools can be inspired by seeing a peer’s small idea generate a big outcome.

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

 

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Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.