Coalition applauds Province's crucial investment in healthy school food programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Summary

  • The BC Chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food (“the Coalition”) applauds the government’s one-time investment of $60 million, which will support the expansion of school meal programs, and help students and their families who are struggling with rising costs of living.

  • The Coalition urges the Province to provide additional direction and support for school districts to implement successful programs that meet key guiding principles based on best practices.

  • The Coalition recommends the Province to partner with advocates to develop a permanent program that meets the needs of BC’s diverse school communities.

August 30, 2022 - The BC Chapter of the Coalition for Healthy School Food welcomes the Province’s recent announcement of a one-time investment of $60 million for school districts, to ensure “students are fed and have the school supplies they need to be successful this year.”


“We are pleased to see the BC government listening to the many voices advocating for increased funding for school food programs, especially with many more families struggling with the cost of living,” said Samantha Gambling, BC Chapter lead of the Coalition. “This new funding comes at an important moment as the federal government works towards their commitments to create a National School Food Policy and Program.”


This funding demonstrates the Province’s understanding of the growing demand for healthy school food programs across the province. The Coalition hopes that school districts receive direction and support to successfully implement universal, healthy school food programs that align with guiding principles based on best practices. The Coalition also acknowledges and appreciates the Province’s long-term intention to “support the expansion of food and meal programs.”


“COVID-19 exacerbated the healthy food crisis among children,” emphasized Gambling. “Canadian research highlights the power of school food programs: they reduce students’ risk of chronic disease by enhancing children’s consumption of healthy foods, food literacy, mental wellness, and academic performance.”


“We urge the Province to partner with Coalition members, endorsers, and other school food

practitioners in the development of a permanent program that meets the needs of BC’s diverse school communities,” said Shannon Turner, the Executive Director of the Public Health Association of BC (PHABC), which administers the BC Chapter of the Coalition.


Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Marie-Claude Bibeau, and Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould’s mandate letters included working together and “with provinces, territories, municipalities, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to develop a National School Food Policy and to work toward a national school nutritious meal program.”


According to the BC Teachers Federation, healthy and culturally appropriate food for all students is a “key equity issue that necessitates concrete action to benefit all students and families.”


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The Coalition for Healthy School Food is a growing network of more than 200 non-profit member organizations from every province and territory (including 40+ organizations in British Columbia) advocating for public investment in and federal standards for a universal cost-shared school food program that would see all children having daily access to healthy food at school.


The BC Chapter for the Coalition for Healthy School Food is administered by the Public Health Association of BC.


Contact Information:

Selenna Ho

Communications Director

Public Health Association of BC

communications@phabc.org

778-836-1001




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