Back to School Means Food for Kids

Support Learning. Support Healthy Development

Kids need healthy food to learn and succeed at school in all ways- cognitively, socially, and behaviourally.

In Canada, we don’t have a federally assisted meal program that provides low-cost or free food to schools. It’s up to parents to supply kids with meals for school. But what happens when parents are not able to do this?

One-third of elementary students and two-thirds of secondary students do not eat a nutritious breakfast before school, according to Food Secure Canada.

Without a national school food program, it’s currently communities who step up and help make sure kids have food.

And here in our own community, Squamish Helping Hands has been providing school lunches to local schools for over 14 years. During the 2021-2022 school year the number of lunches requested from schools increased by 48%.

Inflation is likely taking a toll. Households with children lead by female lone parents are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. Also, the highest rates of food insecurity in Canada are found among Indigenous or Black households. Food insecurity is linked to both mental health problems and chronic conditions so it can place a large burden on our already strained health care system. It isn’t a problem of food skills or behaviours. Food insecurity is closely linked to income.

Now that we operate out of Under One Roof with a beautiful commercial kitchen, we took over the School Breakfast program from the Rotary Club of Squamish. The Rotary Club of Squamish continues to help fund the School Meal Program. We also want to gratefully acknowledge the support of the Breakfast Club of Canada.

"Rotary recognizes the significant burden inflation is causing for local families. We believe that all of our children should have access to safe, nutritious, delicious foods providing a foundation for physical and cognitive development. Rotary is pleased to once again support the School Meal Program."- Kyla Paine, Squamish Rotary Club

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Our Community kitchen is committed to providing healthy lunches for Squamish schools. Staff and Volunteers prepare a rotating variety of sandwiches in the kitchen at Under One Roof, as well as homemade muffins and other healthy snacks.

While distribution of foods at the schools is up to each school, parents and teachers strive to make food freely available so there is no stigma for students who need food.

For the last four years I have served as Principal of Don Ross. During that time, I have been blown away but the amount of care and support you as an organization show for our school. School is a safer and more comforting place for so very many students in our community thanks to the food you provide us on a daily basis.” Cory Hartling, Principal, Don Ross Middle School

The program helps ease stress for parents and helps our local kids be healthy and happy. And that’s good for everyone!

We are gearing up for Back to School time! If you would like to support the School Meal Program, consider becoming a monthly donor.

Donations help us to purchase fresh fruit, granola bars, and other supplies needed for the school food programs.

You decide how much to give each month. Or you can give once. Any amount helps! A donation of $400 feeds a child breakfast and lunch for an entire school year.