A Human Approach

By Kelly Louiseize

The Human League Association (THLA) is expanding its reach beyond children’s breakfast projects and extra-curricular activity assistance to include Greater Sudbury’s vulnerable.

Although the Breakfast Club of Canada has since opted into schools with equally healthy meals, THLA members say there are still students new to our city or who live alone below the poverty line.

By removing social and economic barriers faced in lower-income families, members can provide a healthy, safe environment for children, youth and young parents to grow a happier, healthier, more productive life.

Lorrie Leger, special education teacher with Life Skills at Sudbury Secondary School organizes the breakfast and snack program along with the gardening project and the Value Vault initiative. The latter is an in-house donation of clothes, hygiene products and food accessed by an estimated 30 to 40 students ranging from Grade 9 to Grade 12. Five other schools in the city have the same initiative. THLA will assist them through funding events along with the P.L.A.Y program now operating under the Sudbury Manitoulin Children’s Foundation.

The Value Vault began 12 years ago as a little room downstairs in the school and has since moved to Sudbury Secondary’s second floor. Every school day the room is left open for 30 minutes during lunchtime and after school. Students living on their own or from low socio-economic background can walk in and choose what they need. Foods like peanut butter, chili, beans are provided from the Sudbury Food Bank and The Human League Association.

“We do our best to remove the stigma and create a welcoming environment,” Leger says. “We are here to help. I think we have had great success in that. This is a no shame environment.”

Although they are not accepting donations at his time due to the pandemic, Leger witnesses the daily growing need of this program particularly because of their inner-city location.

“It is nice to know we have another helping hand with The Human League. Nutrition is everything.”

According to The Breakfast Club of Canada an estimated 2 million children go to school on an empty stomach. The reasons vary from long bus rides, rushed mornings, lack of healthy food choices to not having available foods.

Since COVID-19 measures came into play, much of THLA fundraising and volunteer activity has dropped off, but organizers are looking to drum up a new head of steam to embark on initiatives aimed at caring for the community’s vulnerable.

THLA founder and President Rodney Larocque and a board of eight are looking to assist street people with pop up clothing and essential toiletries. By broadening the constitution of THLA, it can help beyond the scope of children.

“Our primary role is fundraising,” Larocque says.

“The main thing is that we are making a difference where it’s needed.”

The president, who was once given the Trillium Award for the breakfast initiative which helped feed up to 1,600 children a day, says this new alliance creates a synergy within the community.  The Human League Association has raised more than $5 million through the years as a not-for-profit (BN #893072785RR0001). It currently has an intern to help organize projects.

“Anyone associated with The Human League Association must have a police check.”

This year marks its 25th anniversary. It has always been made up of members who work well behind the scenes for the good of the community. If this is something that appeals to you, please email membership. (info@humanleaguesudbury.com)

The Human League Association aims to remove social and economic barriers faced by families here in Sudbury. We reach out to the most vulnerable members of our society and guide them towards happier, healthier and more productive lives.

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