Ontario Helping More Children and Youth Access Healthy Food
MISSISSAUGA — The Ontario government is investing an additional $5 million this year in the Student Nutrition Program and the First Nations Student Nutrition Program which provides more than 600,000 school-aged children and youth with healthy meals and snacks throughout the school year to ensure they are well-nourished and ready to learn.
This investment brings the total provincial funding for this year to $38 million and will help ensure the program can continue to deliver almost 90 million nutritious meals and snacks to students.
“Proper nutrition is an important foundation for academic success, and students should have access to healthy and nutritious food to support their growing minds and bodies,” said Michael Parsa, Minister of Children, Community and Social Services. “We are grateful for the generosity of our partners, local community members and volunteers who contribute their time and money to help the next generation succeed. I commend their work and encourage Ontarians to get involved to support the success of Ontario students.”
As part of this investment, the YMCA supporting the program in Peel Region will receive funding to ensure they continue to deliver nutritious meals and snacks to children and youth throughout the school year. The YMCA, along with local volunteers, have been key in delivering this Student Nutrition Program.
To build on the government’s investment in the two student nutrition programs, the province is partnering with the Arrell Family Foundation, the Breakfast Club of Canada, the Schad Foundation, the Grocery Foundation and Student Nutrition Ontario to launch the Healthy Students Brighter Ontario campaign, the first province-wide fundraising partnership of its kind.
To kick off the campaign, the partner organizations have raised $1.67 million from The Arrell Family Foundation, The Schad Foundation, Peter Gilgan Foundation, Maple Leaf Foods and the Maple Leaf Centre for Action on Food Security, The Honourable Margaret McCain, and The Sprott Foundation. The partner organizations will continue to work with local groups and businesses to encourage community involvement and fundraise to reach a combined goal of $10 million, which includes the government’s investment.
“Improving children’s access to healthy meals and snacks at school will positively impact their lives,” said Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore. “The Student Nutrition Program will help ensure that all children in Mississauga, and across the province, have better access to healthy and nutritious foods grown and prepared right here in Ontario.”
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.
- Ontario’s $5 million investment will be split into $4.25 million for the Student Nutrition Program and $750,000 for the First Nations Student Nutrition Program to help more children and youth access healthy food.
- The Student Nutrition Program operates in about 4,500 or 70 per cent of provincially funded schools.
- Countless volunteers support the program by preparing and serving food in school settings.
- The First Nations Student Nutrition Program helps provide children and youth with access to nutritious meals and snacks at 145 sites across 63 First Nations and 27 urban Indigenous communities.
- Additional funding for the Student Nutrition Program and the First Nations Student Nutrition Program comes from municipalities, corporate donations, industry associations, charities and other local fundraising endeavours.
- Organizations and businesses that want to get involved can contact Student Nutrition Ontario, the Breakfast Club of Canada and the Grocery Foundation.