The Manitoba government is pushing to expand school meal programs, in order to provide access to food for students in schools across the province.
Funding for $30 million will be in place for the 2024-2025 school year, according to the province, in a press release on Tuesday. Premier Wab Kinew noted in the release that providing food for students at schools sets them at the “right path towards success in both their education and their future.”
“Children experiencing food insecurity should not have a disadvantage in their learning outcomes because they are hungry,” Kinew said.
As the first step towards what the province said was a universal nutrition program, funding to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba is expected to increase by about $1.37 million this school year. The council covers a portion of food costs for over 300 food programs in schools, according to the release.
Current funding totals $2.5 million. Additional funding would bring that number up to $3.87 million.
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“We have seen first-hand that when students have access to healthy fresh food every day, it boosts student learning and success,” said Nello Altomare, education minister. “This funding allows children to focus on learning so they can excel in school.”
The $30 million in funding is expected to be broken into the following:
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- $15 million would go towards school divisions for local meal programs based on enrolment and socio-economic factors.
- $6 million would go to public schools in communities with the highest socio-economic need.
- $9 million in grants would go to a nutrition programming available on an application basis. This would include expanding support for the CNCM, family outreach initiatives and support for eligible after-school, summer and school break programs.
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