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School meal programs feeling the strain of high food costs


Rising food costs and increased demand are putting a strain on meal and snack programs in Manitoba schools.

All over the country, Canadians are dealing with expensive grocery prices, and now the issue had made its way into Manitoba classrooms.

One factor is that schools are seeing a greater need for meal and snack programs as families that never used these programs before are now accessing them.

“Often schools are seeing an increased need. They are seeing an increased number of students accessing programs,” said Maxine Meadows, community dietician with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba, in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Monday.

Another issue is the increased costs the programs are taking on. This includes higher costs associated with the food being bought, as well as the fuel needed to travel and buy the groceries.

“We have programs all across the province that we’re supporting. Right from Churchill to the southernmost [part of the] province in Sprague,” Meadows said.

“A number of these programs, they may be travelling a distance to purchase groceries.”

Typically, the way these programs work is that in the spring schools inform the Child Nutrition Council about their needs for a program for the following school year. From there, the non-profit supports the schools through grant funding and nutrition support.

Now, the organization is hearing from schools throughout the year about their need for support.

Meadows noted there are 20 schools on the waitlist for the current school year, with 300 programs receiving grants and support.

“We really don’t know what that’s going to look like for the next school year,” she said.

“We have our grants for this school year, but we’re always looking to the next school year and how are we going to be able to support these programs.”

Those who want to provide support to the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba can find out how to do so online.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace. Top Stories

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