September 10, 2020 – It's time to invest in the health and well-being of children and youth through an immediate commitment to a National School Food Program. This September's Throne Speech offers the perfect opportunity.
The Coalition for Healthy School Food, a group of more than 130 health, education, Indigenous and environmental organizations from every province and territory, is calling on the federal government to advance its Budget 2019 commitment by putting a National School Food Program in the mandate letters of the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and Minister of Health.
An investment in a National School Food Program would:
Strengthen the health and well-being of students, their families and communities. Support job creation in agriculture, food service, construction and other hard-hit sectors.
Support infrastructure and equipment such as kitchen and cafeteria retrofits, greenhouses and gardens, and the purchase of appliances and tools.
Enable this issue to join childcare as a crucial support to families, especially women as schools reopen.
Take pressure off of the family budget and be a support for the millions of children and youth who are unable to access healthy food at this time.
COVID-19 has demonstrated that school food is an essential service and action from the federal government is more important than ever.
“Nourished kids learn and behave better. Drinking water and eating a variety of nutrient rich vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein foods support a healthy immune system.” Said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Peterborough Medical Officer of Health, “ To top it off, growing evidence shows connections between healthy eating and positive mental health, and eating together helps us feel more connected (even when we are 2 meters apart).” Read more from Dr. Salvaterra about easy to implement additional safety measures to ensure that school food programs operate safely.
“A well-designed National School Food program will provide quantifiable benefits including better health for our children and youth, reduced costs and time outputs for families especially women, more jobs, investments in infrastructure and reduced impacts on the environment, providing an excellent return on investment” said Debbie Field, Coalition for Healthy School Food Coordinator. “Last month’s historic federal investment of $2.2 billion in school funding shows that there is nothing stopping the Canadian government from investing in student health and education.“
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For more information
Coordinator, Coalition for Healthy School Food
Brittany Cadence Communications Manager, Peterborough Public Health firstname.lastname@example.org