Joining Chief Mark Saunders as one of six Toronto Police uniformed Service members profiled in this year’s Toronto Children Breakfast Clubs Black History Month poster was quite satisfying for Sergeant Rod Chung.
He was thrilled to be invited to accompany club founder Rick Gosling and kids from the Warden Woods and Shoreham communities clubs to Ottawa to present the poster that is displayed in schools that participate in the Breakfast Club program.
Little did Chung know that he would get to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the visit on February 8.
“When Rick said ‘Justin is coming down’, I turned around and asked, ‘Which Justin?’, recalled Chung. “I should however have known better. It was Rick and he gets things done. My biggest reward, besides seeing the smiles on the faces of the young people just happy to be in the nation’s capital, was meeting the PM. He was very personable and friendly in his interactions with the youth and he took the time to take a photograph with everyone on the trip.”
The Toronto Children’s Breakfast Clubs have been a community staple for the last 33 years.
Gosling established the clubs to provide nutritious meals to young people from some of the city’s priority neighbourhoods. They distribute nearly 5,000 meals weekly, in nearly 30 clubs across the city, many of them in designated priority neighbourhoods.
The clubs are a safe place for parents to leave their children when they go to work and ensure a nutritious start to their child’s day, a move that could help to curb behavioral problems, limited attention span, truancy and frequent tardiness. In addition to serving hot, nutritious meals, the clubs also offer children social and intellectual stimulation.
Following consultations with the Metro Toronto Housing Authority, the first club was opened in the Jane-Falstaff community in 1983.
“Toronto Police were our founding partners and they have remained with us over the years. It’s for that reason we decided to highlight six of their members on the poster,” Gosling said.
Chief Saunders thanked the clubs and their leadership for the work they have done over the years and pledged the Service’s continued support to the organization.
“We, at the TPS, recognize the importance of those agencies that take the time to care for and nurture our most vulnerable members of the city,” he said. “The names you have mentioned on your poster are considered ‘top-shelf’ individuals by their peers.”
Other TPS members featured on the poster are 31 Division Superintendent Tony Riviere, Staff Sergeant Ronald Khan and Constables Kristal Lynch and Hugh Smith of the Ceremonial Unit and Traffic Services respectively.