Premier Wab Kinew is following through on an election campaign promise, announcing Tuesday that the province is committing $30 million to expand the province's lunch program.
This record investment will ensure that all children in the province can access healthy foods in schools when needed.
“When we feed hungry kids at school, we set them on the right path towards success in both their education and their future,” said Kinew. “Children experiencing food insecurity should not have a disadvantage in their learning outcomes because they are hungry.”
One of the first steps the province is taking is increasing grant funding to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba by over $1.3 million, raising their funding from $2.5 million to $3.87 million for the 2023-24 school year.
Currently, the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba's funding covers a portion of food costs for over 300 in-school breakfast, lunch and snack programs. This new investment will help the CNCM to immediately offer expanded nutrition programming and hire an additional dietitian to support schools.
“We have seen first-hand that when students have access to healthy fresh food every day, it boosts student learning and success, a fact that is clear to educators in a classroom setting,” said Education and Early Childhood Learning Minister Nello Altomare. “This funding allows children to focus on learning so they can excel in school.”
In the 2024-25 school year, the $30 million investment will be split up into three pools, with $15 million going directly to school divisions for local meal programs based on enrolment and socio-economic factors; $6 million will go to public schools in communities with the highest socio-economic need, and the remaining $9 million will be in grant form and available on an application basis.