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Providing hot meals to vulnerable students: School cafeterias reopening

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Starting this week, school cafeterias across the District are reopening to provide lunches for vulnerable students.

Since returning to in-class instruction in September, eligible students receive a meal delivered to school sites. Starting with Britannia Secondary and Tupper Secondary schools, staff will return to secondary school cafeterias to prepare meals for students.

These meals will feed students at their own schools as well as students in neighbouring elementary schools, serving approximately 1,500 students daily.

Tim De Vivo, business manager with International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 963, says members are dedicated to supporting student success. “Staff are excited to return to cafeterias to serve students again and invest in their school communities in this way,” says De Vivo.

Material Services staff deliver meals to neighbouring schools and Food Services staff are working hard to ensure all cafeterias comply with current health and safety protocols. “Our team is dedicated to getting the cafeterias up and running, and have gone above and beyond to make the service more efficient,” says Michele Kelly, senior manager, Purchasing and Administrative Services.

This concerted team effort of staff across the District is evident, as they work together to ensure students are fed.

Along with Ministry of Education and Vancouver School District funding, the City of Vancouver’s Meal Program Grant is used towards the Food4School program that provides free meals for students who would otherwise be unable to access proper nutrition.

"Students in the Food4Schools program are delighted to receive a hot meal right out of their own school cafeteria again,” says Britannia Secondary principal, Alec MacInnes. “They are very appreciative!”

Eight schools that previously ran breakfast programs will also resume service this month.

This work is central to the District’s efforts to support students and their families throughout the COVID-19 response. Ensuring vulnerable children continue to have access to this vital basic is a major focus of the District’s work.

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