Did you know that food insecurity is a growing epidemic affecting one out of six children in Canada? It’s true.
Statistics show that over 4 million people, including 1.23 million children, are affected by food insecurity. Going to bed with an empty tummy leads to improper sleep, which makes being ready to learn the next day all the more difficult.
Experts say that the answer to the problem is not to simply give someone food, but to give them the ability to earn a higher income. If a higher income is only earned through education, and learning is impossible if a child’s basic needs are not met, how are we helping Canada’s future by neglecting its coming generations?
Unfortunately Canada is the only G7 country that does not have a national meal program in its schools. There are a handful of privately funded organizations that help to eliminate child hunger in Canada, however, all but one focuses solely on breakfasts and snacks. The exception helps children only on weekends, leaving an unmet need at dinner time.
Feeding Canadian Kids is the only Canadian registered charity focused on filling the dinner-gap. We’re dedicated to nourishing and nurturing children by providing by them with healthy dinners. This is paramount to improving their learning, overall wellbeing and ability to create brighter futures and break the cycle of poverty.
OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
The economic, social and safety challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic propelled us to act quickly and reinvent our original restaurant partner model. Here are some of the innovative ways we’ve been continuing our commitment to serving healthy dinners to hungry kids:
Feeding Canadian Kids at Home: When after school programs closed, we acquired a donated catering space (from Nova Ristorante), volunteers with culinary experience (from KANVAS Caterers) and donated food (from Country Boys produce and Sanagans Meat Locker) to continue to feed the hundreds of children benefitting from our dinner program. We also partnered with MLSE to procure meals for an additional 300 kids per week. We then engaged our community partners further to coordinate door to door deliveries to families at home. As after school programs have re-opened but are no longer able to accept food prepared outside their facilities, we have redirected our food donations to the recently hired chefs at these programs to prepare nutritious kid-friendly meals.
Families Feeding Families: With a predicted 55% of restaurants not reopening, our Families Feeding Families program is a simple and sustainable recipe to continue our mission moving forward, and a complement to our existing after school dinner program. The way it works is we pair a Host Family with a Guest Family, and ask that they prepare and deliver a healthy meal to their home, at a minimum of once per week. Our plan is to scale this program across Ontario and throughout Canada in years to come.
A Partnership with Real Food for Real Kids (RFRK): This partnership is perfectly aligned as we both aim to feed children healthy, kid-friendly meals. With RFRK’s commitment, we’re able to cost-effectively purchase and deliver their great dinners to children in need.