Friends and classmates from North Hill Private School in Vaughan Federico Hjorth (left) and Francisco Dele (right) welcome Duke the Dog into the stands at the Ricoh Coliseum March 7. Photo by Evan Boudreau

Catholic schools team with Marlies to tackle hunger

By 
  • March 14, 2012

TORONTO - Screams of support welcomed the Toronto Marlies March 7 as 4,500 Catholic students from the GTA cheered an 11 a.m. faceoff against the Binghamton Senators at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Students were allowed to cut class to catch the American Hockey League game between the minor-league affiliates of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators, learn about healthy living and raise money for the Angel Foundation for Learning. Attending schools raised about $10,000 as a portion from each ticket sold went to the charity.

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“It was an event that had students, staff and parents actually come together to support the Angel Foundation for Learning. It’s all about promoting healthy active living,” said the Angel Foundation’s fund-raising manager Jessica Colucci. “The energy in the building was very, very strong.”

The Angel Foundation, in conjunction with each school’s Health Action Team, provides a healthy breakfast for Catholic students in Toronto. An essential service, according to Colucci, one-third of students go hungry each day.

Showing they're just as photogenic as the students, St. Luke's gym teacher Andian Olsthoorn, trustee Frank D'Amico, TDCSB head office's Karmen Giambattist and Sam Dingillow, also from head office, strike a classic hockey stance before stepping on the ice for the ten shot challenge.

Showing they're just as photogenic as the students, St. Luke's gym teacher Andian Olsthoorn, trustee Frank D'Amico, TDCSB head office's Karmen Giambattist and Sam Dingillow, also from head office, strike a classic hockey stance before stepping on the ice for the ten shot challenge.

Photo by Evan Boudreau

“Our programs are not necessarily for those students who cannot afford breakfast in the morning, it’s for all students so that all students have an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Colucci. “We also found a great correlation between having breakfast in the morning and doing well academically. We really want to promote student achievement and well-being through our programs.”

Aside from the breakfast program, the Angel Foundation also facilitates the Social Work Emergency fund providing students with essential needs such as warm clothing, hearing aids and EpiPens. Leaving no student behind, the foundation also covers the costs for those unable to attend field trips, summer camps and other educational activities through its School Allocation Fund. As a last helping hand it offers various bursaries and awards to aid grads pursuing higher education.

It’s not just students who reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle starting with a nutritious breakfast.

“For our guys, and in general, it’s very important to follow a healthy lifestyle. Putting junk food in your body can run you down and cause your body to go into different types of stress responses,” said Paul Ayotte, the Marlies’ head athletic therapist. “If you follow a healthy lifestyle you can avoid a lot of that and be able to enjoy life a little better rather than being hampered down with illnesses, stress and just not feeling good overall.”

The Senators ended up beating the Marlies 2-0.

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