Alberta grows school nutrition program to feed 33,000 kids across province

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The Alberta government ‘s school nutrition program is looking to feed 33,000 kids at schools across the province this academic year.

Premier Rachel Notley announced the funding boost Wednesday at Banting and Best School in southeast Calgary. The provincial government allocated $15.5 million in the 2018 budget to grow the program, which was launched in 2016 with a $3.5-million pilot project.

In the first year of the program, 14 school boards in Alberta could each choose one K-6 school to participate in the pilot.

The program was given a $10-million boost in 2017 that saw the number of students fed across the province expand from 5,000 kids in 33 school to 21,000 in 200 schools.

Alberta’s $15.5 million school nutrition program is expanding to feed more than 30,000 students a daily nutritious meal. (CBC)

“Under the school nutrition program, schools are expected to offer at least one nutritious meal a day, breakfast or lunch, to students who need it most,” Notley said.

“Schools have flexibility to decide how they deliver the program and what works best for their children.”

Notley touted the project’s success, noting teachers in all school districts have reported an increase in attendance and improved behaviour from students since the program was implemented in their schools.

According to the government, schools must demonstrate how their program adheres to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth and are required to include a nutrition education component as part of the program for parents and kids.

The decision on which schools receive funding is based on a formula that takes into account several socio-economic factors in the school’s community.

Calgary Board of Education chair Trina Hurdman said the CBE has 13 schools participating in the program.



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