Toronto’s Board of Health is looking to push for increased funding of their student nutrition program after hearing success stories from city schools.
‘‘This particular program is one of the most efficient investments. Instead of talking about cut, cut, cut, this is really building the city,’’ says Coun. Raymond Cho (Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River).
During its first meeting of the year Monday, the board received depositions on the state of the student nutrition program. The 2014 budget contains an increase of $1.771 million for the program. This means an additional 27 programs to the already more than 700 student nutrition programs in the city, according to Ulla Knowles, Student Nutrition Community Development Manager at FoodShare Toronto, who was invited to speak before the board.
Around 149,000 students participate in the program, according to the city of Toronto’s web site.
Each school has its own version of the program, which can include free breakfasts, lunches and snacks in the afternoon, the web site says.
The city is one of several funding partners for the student nutrition program. In 2012, the Board of Health adopted a five-year funding goal, which is aiming for the city to fund 20 per cent of the program by 2017.
However, the city still has some work to do before reaching its goal.
‘‘As of now, we are at 14 percent,’’ says Coun. Joe Mihevic (Ward 21 St. Paul’s) who remains positive. ‘‘When we started this journey two years ago we were at something like 10.5 per cent. We’re getting there and that’s just great to see.’’
Coun. Sarah Doucette (Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park) says the board should keep pushing for more funding as the program makes a difference for students.
‘‘I don’t want any kid to be hungry at school. I know we can’t feed them all, but we can definitely do our best,’’ says Coun. Doucette.