Increased funding is now available to help support hungry children in Manitoba Schools. The provincial government announced on Thursday that it is committing an additional $1.3 Million to support The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba in delivering school nourishment programs.
Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko says there are a variety of reasons for children to feel hungry when they arrive at school.
"It can include limited access to food in the home, or long bus rides to school, hectic mornings, or early drop-offs,” Ewasko says. “Research has shown that hunger and poor nutrition are linked to challenges with school achievement and in some instances, increased absenteeism.”
“School nourishment programs provide a social school environment where students can consume nutritious food, ensuring a healthy, nutritious start for the day,” Ewasko adds. “This additional investment was identified as a priority in the report of the Manitoba Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education and aligns with the Manitoba K to 12 Education Action Plan’s identified actions to remove barriers to participation and engagement in learning. Delivering on this priority with the council benefits not only children’s health, but also correlates with better school outcomes and improves every part of their lives.”
Wendy Bloomfield is chairperson for The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. She says they have noticed a steady increase in the number of schools and students who access the meal programs.
“Through our ongoing work with schools across the province in the delivery of school nourishment, we know there is a growing demand for these nutrition programs. Because of the increase in the numbers of schools and students asking for our support, we were falling further and further behind in our ability to meet the nutritional needs of Manitoba students. This new funding is extremely welcomed and so needed,” she says.
“With food costs rising day by day, this new funding from the provincial government will allow Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba to increase our funding support to schools from just under 10 percent to almost 20 percent of calculated food costs,” Bloomfield reports.
She adds, “The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba is committed to working in collaboration with the provincial government to ensure that funding for school meal and snack programs is both adequate and sustainable in the long term.”
For more information on school nourishment programs, visit https://childnutritioncouncil.com/.