Vancouver School Board and City of Vancouver partner to expand meal program for vulnerable students

Programs, Schools & Students

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News Release

December 3, 2015

Vancouver School Board and City of Vancouver partner to expand meal program for vulnerable students

Thanks to a partnership agreement with the City of Vancouver, Vancouver School Board is now able to feed an additional 258 hungry children healthy lunches through their meal programs for vulnerable elementary school students.

“There is no reason that in a city as compassionate and prosperous as Vancouver, that any child should be going to school hungry," said Mayor Robertson. “This new initiative by Vancouver City Council to invest in the School Board's healthy meal programs ensures funding is going towards those who need it the most. The Vancouver School Board is on the front lines of child poverty in Vancouver. We want to be supporting them to ensure that kids who are facing barriers at a young age have the chance to succeed.”

Deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer represented the City at an event this morning to launch the new partnership. The City of Vancouver is contributing $320,000 annually towards the Vancouver School Board’s meal program beginning this month. These funds align with the City’s Healthy City Strategy, in particular the City’s goals to ensure that all children have access to healthy food.

“We know that children who are nourished learn better, so we welcome the City’s partnership to help reach more children,” says Fraser Ballantyne, Chairperson of the Vancouver Board of Education. “This partnership will expand our meals program to enable us to deliver meals to vulnerable students at an additional 18 schools.”

Last year, VSB reviewed all its food services programs, in an effort to ensure meals were being provided to the most vulnerable students in the district. Some elementary schools had hot lunch programs but meals did not always reach students with the greatest needs at schools without those programs. VSB is now using a new meal program model that distributes meals to reach more hungry students at the school they attend, and the partnership with the City of Vancouver has extended that reach.

The VSB meal program feeds about 1000 of the most vulnerable elementary school children. The City’s contribution brings that to more than 1250. All meals meet the provincial healthy eating guidelines for school food.

“The City of Vancouver’s funds will be used, along with those of other donors, to extend meal programs to more vulnerable students at Vancouver schools,” says Scott Robinson, Superintendent of Schools. “We appreciate the City’s support, and welcome partnerships with other community organizations to help us reach even more hungry kids in Vancouver.”

Meals are prepared at secondary production kitchens, located in Vancouver high schools, and delivered to students in their elementary school. City funding has provided the freezers and transportation coolers required for an additional three high schools to prepare meals. The numbers of students being reached through these meal programs is reviewed regularly, adjusted monthly based on need, and reviewed formally each year.

The City’s $320,000 annual investment will complement an additional $80,000 proposed for Strathcona Community Centre Association’s community breakfast program. Both the City and the School Board recognize the strength of that existing breakfast program and its ability to meet student needs in a highly vulnerable neighbourhood. The recommendation to provide $80,000 of funding to Strathcona Community Centre Association goes to Council on Dec. 9, 2015.

 

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Contact:

VSB Media Relations
communications@vsb.bc.ca

 

City of Vancouver
Corporate Communications
604-871-6336
media@vancouver.ca