WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government has launched a pilot program to provide meals and family-friendly recipes to about 6,000 children across the province.
The $2.5 initiative will benefit approximately 2,500 families through community-based organizations and be supported by an online educational component on meal nutrition.
“Through the Home Nutrition and Learning Pilot Program, we will connect thousands of children and their families with nutritious food, family-focused recipes and learning activities over the coming months,” Families Minister Heather Stefanson said in a release.
Funding will be divided between the following organizations to help administer the program:
• Andrews Street Family Centre Inc. in Winnipeg;
• Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. in Winnipeg;
• Samaritan House in Brandon;
• Food Matters Manitoba in the community of Cross Lake; and
• Bayline Regional Round Table in Thicket Portage, Pikwitonei, Ilford/War Lake and Wabowden.
Stefanson said many of these organizations have already been providing emergency food items to families as part of the community response to COVID-19. The new program will further extend that support with additional nutritious foods built around menus, recipes and educational activities.
The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba has developed the recipes, which will be available to all Manitobans online at mbnutritionlearning.ca.
“The (Manitoba Teachers’) Society recognizes the important link between nutrition and learning and has strongly advocated for a universal meal program for K-12 students,” MTS president said in a statement James Bedford.
“While this is by no means a universal program, it is certainly a step in the right direction and will have a big impact in the lives of some of Manitoba’s most vulnerable children.”
The pilot program will launch in Winnipeg this week and in other communities in early July, running until the end of September in all locations.