More children and youth will have access to healthy meals and snacks at school through the Province’s new Feeding Futures funding, which invests in building and expanding local school food programs.
“As busy parents deal with global inflation, school food programs can help reduce the pressure on their wallets while tackling student hunger,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care. “Working with local schools to make sure our kids are fed and ready to learn will make a real difference for families and communities.”
Through Budget 2023, the Province is investing $214 million over three years so school districts can create or expand local food programs in schools throughout B.C. The funds will be used for purchasing food and hiring dedicated staff to co-ordinate providing meals and snacks to students. This is the largest investment in school food programs in the Province’s history.
The Ministry of Education and Child Care will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to include the Feed BC program in school food programs. Feed BC will support schools building strong community partnerships with local growers and food producers to include more B.C. food in schools and invest in local economic growth.
“Healthy minds and bodies begin with fresh, quality food,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food. “I am thrilled to see this funding go to schools across the province, where it will be used to help students get more nutritious food grown right here in our province. Together with our farmers and food businesses, we are helping to feed the minds of the next generation of British Columbians.”
The Feeding Futures program will address the immediate need of feeding students and builds on the progress made with the Student and Family Affordability Fund to help reduce the challenges of rising food costs for families who need it most.
“The new Feeding Futures funding will benefit many families in communities across B.C., including Richmond,” said Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “Our government is reducing costs for people and supporting the well-being of students to make sure they are ready and prepared to learn.”
Non-profit organizations, donors and parent advisory councils will continue to play a vital role alongside schools to address student hunger, as it reflects the larger issue of community-based food insecurity.
Debbie Tablotney, board chair, Richmond School District –
“This is an important investment in the health and well-being of our students. By expanding our school food programs, we can increase access to nutritious food. As a district, we are committed to ensuring that all students have access to the resources they need to succeed. We are grateful for this funding from the Province and are excited to use this investment to support the well-being of our students.”
Amanda Nichol, first vice-president, BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils –
“Ensuring our students are not hungry at school is a primary emphasis of the BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils, therefore, the funding for school food programs is welcome news. We are aware of too many families struggling to keep up with rising costs. Support for school food programs generates positive changes. All our students should have access to nutritious food so that they can focus on learning in order to reach their full potential.”
Viveca Ellis, executive director, Single Mothers’ Alliance –
“The importance of healthy meals provided within our public education system to support learning and development should not be understated. They help families save both crucial time and money, support economic recovery and food security, and ensure that our children and youth are ready to learn. It’s encouraging to see the government prioritize the well-being and success of students, and this program has the potential to positively impact low-income children, youth and families across British Columbia.”
Judith Barry, co-founder and director of government relations, Breakfast Club of Canada –
“As many children and families continue to struggle with the increased cost of living and lack of access to nutritious foods each day, the new Feeding Futures funding is an inspiring step toward ensuring that every child in the province can benefit from school food programs and reach their full potential. This investment over three years is positioning B.C. as a leader in school nutrition programs in the country. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with all donors and stakeholders involved in ensuring support to future generations.”
For the funding allocation per school district, visit this link and click on the Summary of Grants to Date, 2023-24:
The Province has developed a new website, Build a School Food Program, to provide guidance to school districts on creating new food programs in their schools: https://www.gov.bc.ca/bcschoolfood