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A Survey of Organizations and Agencies Providing Food to School Students During COVID-19

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Guest blog post by Dr. Rachel-Engler-Stringer and Dr. Mary McKenna

Schools in most parts of Canada continue to be closed, however, we are aware that many are continuing to provide food for school students across the country. If your organization or agency is providing food to students that would normally have access to school food programs, this short survey is for you. Its purpose is to capture information about the food programs you offer to these children and youth (and, if applicable, their families) while schools are closed due to COVID-19.

The information we collect about program participation and characteristics will provide a clearer picture of strategies for food provision and valuable information to inform future planning.

We are writing to share an important survey which we are launching today and to encourage you to fill it out and to circulate this survey as broadly as you can among your members and all school food practitioners.

We -- Dr. Rachel-Engler-Stringer of the University of Saskatchewan and Dr. Mary McKenna of the University of New Brunswick, with doctoral student Amberley Ruetz, University of Guelph and members of the School Food Working Group of the Canadian Association of Food Studies developed this survey and we will be collecting the data. We are grateful to the organizations and agencies that reviewed the survey prior to distribution.

We will be pleased to share the results with you, which we hope will assist you with your own work. We also plan to prepare a report for practitioners and policy makers that analyzes results by region, province or territory and nationally, to provide further information. We will use the contact information you provide in the survey to communicate with you. In addition, we plan to publish the results in scholarly journals and conference presentations.

The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. This survey is NOT an evaluation of any program, it is a compilation of program information. The person who completes the survey should have a clear understanding of all key program elements, such as eligibility criteria, program delivery model, participants, food sourcing, and costs. We regard survey completion as your consent to use the results. You do not need to answer all the questions and you do not need to complete the survey to submit it. The information you provide will be associated with your organization but not you as an individual – in other words, the published results will not identify your organization or agency. The information you provide will be stored on a secure, password protected server, with access limited to the researchers who have developed the survey.

We anticipate this survey to be the first step in gathering additional information about school food programs. The second will be to conduct detailed case studies of diverse food program delivery models for students and our long term goal is to conduct a Canada-wide census of school food programs.

Please note that the University of Saskatchewan Behavioural Research Ethics Board (Beh-REB) has examined this study and has determined that it is exempt from standard review and approval processes. However, your rights as a participant and the confidentiality of your data are still ensured. If you have any questions regarding your rights as a participant, you may contact the ethics office at or 306-966-2975. There are no known risks to participating in this survey; however, as with any online related activity the risk of breach of confidentiality is possible.

We recognize that your organization or agency is very busy at this time. Please accept our sincere thank you for your work and for taking the time to provide us with this valuable information! For more information contact

Best regards,

Rachel on behalf of Mary, Amberley and members of the School Food Working Group of the Canadian Association of Food Studies

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