Maple Leaf Foods Donates $250,000 to Support Expansion of Healthy School Meals in Ontario

“Food insecurity in Canada has reached crisis levels, with one in four children now living in a home that struggles to access food,” points out Sarah Stern, Executive Director of the Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc along with the Maple Leaf Centre for Food Security is contributing $250,000 to the Healthy Students Brighter Ontario campaign to support the expansion of the Student Nutrition Program and the First Nations Student Nutrition Program in Ontario.

The province of Ontario is also contributing $5 million in additional funding to the program, bringing total provincial funding in 2023 to $38 million. This will enable the program to deliver almost 90 million nutritious meals and snacks to over 600,000 students.

“While school food programs will not solve this growing issue, they do provide immediate support without stigma for students who go to school without adequate nutrition. We commend the province of Ontario for this further investment to help all children learn and thrive,” continues Sarah Stern.

The Student Nutrition Program is delivered in partnership with local agencies, school boards, and community partner organizations, and the First Nations Student Nutrition Program is delivered through a First Nations-led process. Both programs provide breakfast, snacks or lunch programs to school-aged children and play a vital role in supporting students’ nutritional needs and promoting positive academic outcomes.

“What is urgently required is a joint federal-provincial approach to structurally reduce food insecurity. We urge governments to align behind a goal to reduce food insecurity by 50% by 2030. The tools to reach this goal are within our reach. They include implementation of an adequate Canada Disability Benefit, more supports for populations who are disproportionately impacted, scaling up programs such as food prescriptions and tax benefit and social service navigation,” concluded Ms. Stern.

Organizations and businesses that want to get involved can contact Student Nutrition Ontario.