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Source: CPAC

More calls for feds to invest in national school food program

By Caitlin Snow Mar 20, 2024 | 12:48 PM

The largest school food network in Canada is pushing the feds to invest around $1 billion to make sure healthy meals are available in schools.

The Coalition of Healthy School Food (CHSF) made their pitch to establish a national lunch program in Ottawa on Tuesday.

They want to see the money committed to launch the program and spread out over the next five years.

Knowledge, mobilization coordinator for CHSF, Carolyn Webb says, there are many benefits for such a program including the amount of money you could save.

“A recent report suggests that families could save between $130 and $290 per child, per month during the school year, if those children were served breakfast and lunch at school.”

Webb adds that school food programs also benefit eating patterns in children and youth.

Director of health, policy and advocacy with Heart and Stroke, Manuel Arango says the reality is families struggle to feed their children healthy food and the time to act is now.

“Evidence shows that school programs help to produce better health and educational outcomes.  We know that increase consumption of healthy foods can help reduce the consumption of chronic disease.”

Arango adds that school food programs also increase graduation rates and decreasing hunger in classrooms- a known barrier to learning.

This follows a recent urge for action from the federal NDP for a national school food program.

Leader Jagmeet Singh says the Liberals promised to bring in a program like this for years but have been dragging their feet.

He adds that in a country like ours, no child should ever go hungry.

Canada is the only country in the G7 that does not have a national school food program.