As students prepare to go back to school, many things are top of mind for parents and kids.
Going hungry shouldn't be one of them.
Unfortunately, one in six Canadian children under 18 face food insecurity; that works out to over one million undernourished kids in the country.
Two local organizations are taking a proactive approach to the problem.
The goal is to ensure no child goes hungry and that they can access healthy food.
The program prepares over 700 fresh lunches daily for elementary and middle school students throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.
"We worked with a nutritionist at the beginning of this program to ensure all the lunches are well-rounded, they're healthy, and they're food kids actually want to eat," explains Simply Foods operations manager Sandra Lee.
In addition to simple donations, there are several ways people can contribute.
SPUD bins used for home food delivery can be returned with pantry items from someone's household. Food and monetary donations can also be made at Be Fresh and Organic Acres stores.
A portion from each meal ordered supports a subsidy for a child who may otherwise not have a lunch to eat. School districts have the option to implement a subsidy program, offering partial or full coverage for student meal costs.
Lunches are made in-house from scratch. Subsidized and unsubsidized meals are packaged the same way to reduce any stigma surrounding food insecurity.
"Families who typically receive these subsidized meals have a variety of different backgrounds. For instance, we have this one mom who unfortunately lost her job due to COVID-19 and as she was applying for subsidies, she explained that just within these next four months, she just needs a little bit of help," says Lee.
The program has served over 60,000 hot lunches and more than 35,000 subsidized meals to B.C. children.