[September 1, 2022] Investment Addresses Growing Wait-List of Schools for Nourishment Grants, Improves Children’s Access to Nutritious Foods: Guillemard, Ewasko
The Manitoba government is investing an additional $1.3 million to support the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba in delivering school nourishment programs, Mental Health and Community Wellness Minister Sarah Guillemard and Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Wayne Ewasko announced today.
“All children deserve to be well-nourished for their days of classroom learning and kids need healthy food every day to grow strong and thrive,” said Guillemard. “These programs will help many families affected by rising food prices and will enable the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba to cover a larger percentage of costs for meal and snack programs at funded schools.”
School nourishment programs support healthy eating and food security for Manitoba children during the critical, ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Guillemard noted, adding that evidence suggests the programs are crucial in encouraging school attendance, supporting learning and promoting life-long health and wellness. The new investment brings the total provincial funding for school nutrition programs this year to $2.5 million.
“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,” said Wendy Bloomfield, chairperson, Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. “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.”
The ministers noted the new investment will ensure that more schools throughout the province, including those that were part of the former Home Nutrition Learning Program as a response to the pandemic, will be able to support the needs of students as they return to classes this September.
“School nourishment programs provide a social school environment where students can consume nutritious food, ensuring a healthy, nutritious start for the day,” said Ewasko. “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.”
Guillemard noted the investment aligns with the mandate of the Department of Mental Health and Community Wellness to provide provincial leadership and oversight for wellness and health promotion programs and services in order to improve mental health and overall health outcomes. This work also aligns with the department’s five-year plan, A Pathway to Mental Health and Community Wellness: A Roadmap for Manitoba, by strengthening the Healthy Food in Schools initiative and expanding the availability of school-based services and programming across the province.
For more information on school nourishment programs, visit https://childnutritioncouncil.com/.
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