Chilliwack Bowls of Hope is asking for help from the public to push for a national school-food program.
As a Chilliwack charity focused mainly on food security, Bowls of Hope is also part of a coalition striving to make healthy school food a universal, cost-shared program in Canada.
“There are school districts that have programs running, but there is nothing universal,” said Cindy Waters, executive director of Chilliwack Bowls of Hope. “We would need to see money in both the federal and provincial budgets to move this forward.”
The ‘Feed the Children’ program from Bowls of Hope, which provides hundreds of school kids with a hot lunch, is supported mostly from fundraising and donations, as well as from the Chilliwack School District. The local organization has been working on the national effort as a member of the B.C. chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food.
They’re asking the public to contact their elected officials about approving a universal school food program in their 2023 budgets. They’ve been using the hashtag #nourishkidsnow on social media.
What has been missing is sustained, global funding and adequate resources from senior levels of government, and that’s where the public can come in.
“Broadening the scope of the school food programs to everyone means no one gets left behind,” Waters said.
In addition to contacting their local MPs, people and organizations can support the effort by contacting their local MLAs through the link, www.healthyschoolfood.ca/bc-chapter, or directly themselves, she said.
“For the health of our children, we need the support of our federal and provincial governments to include in their budgets, funds to support a healthy food program for all five million students in Canada.”
The healthy food issue is significant because Canada is ranked 37 out of 41 countries when it comes to providing healthy food to school children, according to the Coalition. School food programs are known to increase kids’ consumption of fruits, vegetables and other healthy elements like fibre and micronutrients, as well as contributing to their learning and academic success.
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