Our Visit to the Piitoayis Family School

Our mission here at Calgary Meals on Wheels is to build a stronger, caring community, by providing quality, nutritious meals to anyone in need of our services.

One of our lesser known initiatives is our Hot Soup Program. In this program we deliver a nutritious hot soup lunch to 13 Calgary area elementary schools at no cost to the students or the schools. Last year alone we delivered more than 85,000 bowls of soup to school children all across Calgary.

We recently sat down with the Principal of the most recent school to be part of this program. Piitoayis Family School is located in the neighbourhood of Inglewood and is home to an alternative program that teaches the Alberta Education Programs of Study through a diversity of First Nations, Métis and Inuit perspectives and experiences. The name, Piitoayis (pronounced bee-doe-yeez) translates into “Eagle Lodge” in the Blackfoot language and was named by five Elders (Mark Wolfleg (Siksika), Russel Big Crow (Tsuu T’ina), Freddy Eagletail (Tsuu T’ina), Olive Manitopyes (Cree Nation), and John Snow (Morley)).

We asked Don Braun, the Principal at Piitoayis, a few questions about the positive effect that this program is having on his students. He told us that his students love the soup that Calgary Meals on Wheels delivers.

Don explained that the soups are the only warm meal that many students will receive at school. “There is rarely a drop left, especially if it has noodles.” On delivery days students will hold a contest to see who can accurately guess the soup of the day.

Don also mentioned that the staff can see, in their students’ smiles, the impact that the warm meals have, and that makes the staff very happy. “The soup is one of the ways we get some of our students to eat veggies”, mentioned Don when asked about the nutritional value of the soups students receive.

In closing, he also added that the overall impact that the Hot Soup Program has is greater than what some people might imagine. The soup demonstrates the caring and giving spirit that people have to provide the students with a core meal.

Thank you to Don, the entire staff, and the students of the Piitoayis Family School for allowing us an inside look into their unique school. We want to thank the generous Calgarians who donate to our Hot Soup Program, allowing us to provide schools like Piitoayis, with nutritious meals for their students