THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Ryan McDonnell, a teacher at Sir Winston Churchill Collegiate and Vocational Institute, has been selected by Games partner President’s Choice to carry the Pan Am Flame in his hometown of Windsor.
McDonnell has volunteered his time to help run the school’s Breakfast Club for the past five years.
“One of the unique aspects of our program is that we do not simply run it out of a classroom, instead we have a cart that is pushed around the halls offering meals to all students,” said McDonnell, who for the past two years has served as the program’s primary coordinator. “We believe that by providing equal and easy access to all students in this way we remove the stigma that may be associated with needing to use a school breakfast program.”
In recognition of McDonnell’s commitment to inspiring healthy food choices, Toronto 2015 Pan American Games partner President’s Choice is presenting him with one of its Torchbearer positions in the Games Torch Relay.
The program at Sir Winston Churchill, which feeds nearly 200 students each morning, is supported by President’s Choice Children’s Charities. President’s Choice Children’s Charities donated more than $5 million to support childhood nutrition programs in 2014.
“On a personal level, I have lived a fairly privileged life and have never known what it’s like to go home to and empty fridge and cupboards,” added McDonnell. “This is the main reason why I volunteer my time. For some of our students, the only consistent meal they have comes from our breakfast program. I believe this small act of providing food can have a significant impact now and far into the future.”
The TORONTO Pan Am Games Torch Relay starts May 30, 2015, and concludes July 10, 2015 with the dramatic lighting of the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony in downtown Toronto.
In addition to using 100 torchbearer spots to put the spotlight on in-school nutrition program volunteers and leaders like McDonnell, President’s Choice Dieticians will be involved in feeding the athletes and volunteers during the Games.
“Our hope is that a lasting legacy of these Games will be a greater awareness of proper nutrition and eating for success in everyday life,” said Curt Harnett, who is Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Games and helps run the PC Torchbearer program. “By spotlighting community volunteers like Ryan McDonnell we are driving home the point that nutrition is a precursor for success, for kids and for elite athletes.”
Starting May 30 three thousand torchbearers will carry the flame through communities across Ontario as well as Richmond, BC, Calgary, AB, Winnipeg, MB, Montreal, QC and Halifax, NS.