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Shipments of soup feed students
Community schools may add lunch programs

Katie May
Northern News Services
Published Tuesday, December 15, 2009

NWT - Every Sunday afternoon, chefs at Yellowknife's Explorer Hotel stir soup pots over the stove so students at community schools can warm up with hot, nutritious lunches all week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Dana Britton: Organized rotation for communities to receive free soup shipments from Explorer Hotel. - NNSL file photo

The hotel teamed up with the NWT Breakfast for Learning program, DNX Drilling and Air Tindi to ship five-gallon pails of soup to schools in Dettah, Gameti, Ndilo, Lutsel K'e, Whati and Yellowknife.

"It was something that just came to me," said Jiten Jattan, general manager of the Explorer Hotel. "I knew the kitchen had a lot of products they weren't going to be using, products sometimes they were just going to throw in the garbage and I knew we had this big soup pot that can hold a lot of soup, so I figured we'd put it to good use."

Jattan said hotel chefs make the veggie soups fresh and then freeze them in time for Monday morning pickup by DNX Drilling employees, who volunteered to deliver the pails to Air Tindi, where they go on to their final destinations in the communities.

"Anything with the kids has always been a soft spot for me, so if I can help out in a matter, I'm glad I can," Jattan said, adding he hopes to keep the soup coming as long as possible.

The soup shipments began in early November, with each community on a rotation schedule organized by Dana Britton, co-ordinator of the NWT Breakfast for Learning program.

Britton said soup is a quick and healthy meal for children.

"Who doesn't love soup?" she said.

Lea Lamoureux, principal of Dettah's Kaw Tay Whee School, agreed, saying the free soup has introduced some students to vegetables they don't normally eat, like cabbage.

"It's a constant supply of nutritious food for our school," she said. "It's broadening our horizons and our palates."

In Whati, the Mezi Community School shared its first shipment of soup with students and parents at the school's Christmas concert on Dec. 9.

"We had cookies and biscuits and tea and eggnog and soup the soup was offered then for the first time," said principal Blair Hagman, adding if the shipments continue, the school may be able to offer a lunch program. Students currently go home during lunch hour.

"If it continues, we will offer it at a lunchtime period because we offer the breakfast program in the morning, but soup doesn't seem to be the right choice of food for the morning so we will offer it as a lunchtime program as well," Hagman said.

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