Home Social Trends Food Security Feeding Futures funding expands school food programs in BC

Feeding Futures funding expands school food programs in BC

Food distribution volunteers needed in SD62

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Tuesday April 4, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 11:25 am]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends


The new Feeding Futures program is a school food program initiative, announced by Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh,

The minister was joined by Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough, for the announcement held at McNair Secondary School in Richmond on April 4.

The goal is for more children and youth will have access to healthy meals and snacks at school through the Province’s new Feeding Futures funding, which invests in building and expanding local school food programs.

Meaningful success will mean reliance on food distribution networks, the availability of people to volunteer or contribute to those networks, and infrastructure within schools to support food delivery (e.g. kitchens, cafeterias, disposal & sanitation). Success will also depend on family buy-in, so programs must be delivered without stigmatization associated with low income.

rachna singh, education minister
BC Education and Child Care Minister Rachna Singh at the SD62 administration office in Langford, Mar 31, 2023. [Island Social Trends]

Fed and ready to learn:

“As busy parents deal with global inflation, school food programs can help reduce the pressure on their wallets while tackling student hunger,” said Rachna Singh, Minister of Education and Child Care.

“Working with local schools to make sure our kids are fed and ready to learn will make a real difference for families and communities.”

The underlying presumption is that families don’t have enough income security to feed their families. That is a stark takeaway from this announcement. That scenario is not new, as the economy has become increasingly worse for working families for decades. Scorching-high inflation over the past year has tipped the problem of affordability (housing, food, raising a family) much into the spotlight.

$214 million over three years:

Through Budget 2023, the Province is investing $214 million over three years so school districts can create or expand local food programs in schools throughout B.C.

Mitzi Dean

The funds will be used for purchasing food and hiring dedicated staff to coordinate providing meals and snacks to students. This is being called the largest investment in school food programs in the Province’s history.

Cross-ministry with Agriculture:

The Ministry of Education and Child Care will work with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to include the Feed BC program in school food programs. Feed BC will support schools building strong community partnerships with local growers and food producers to include more B.C. food in schools and invest in local economic growth.

“Healthy minds and bodies begin with fresh, quality food,” said Pam Alexis, Minister of Agriculture and Food, in a news release. “I am thrilled to see this funding go to schools across the province, where it will be used to help students get more nutritious food grown right here in our province.”

eby, alexis, malcolmson
Premier David Eby announced $200 million to support the resilience of food supply, production and distribution in BC, March 7, 2023 in Vancouver.

“Together with our farmers and food businesses, we are helping to feed the minds of the next generation of British Columbians,” said Alexis, who was at Premier David Eby’s announcement on March 7 of $200 million (from the 2022-2023 budget surplus) for expansion of food sustainability in BC.

The Feeding Futures program will address the immediate need of feeding students and builds on the progress made with the Student and Family Affordability Fund to help reduce the challenges of rising food costs for families who need it most.

“The new Feeding Futures funding will benefit many families in communities across B.C., including Richmond,” said Aman Singh, MLA for Richmond-Queensborough. “Our government is reducing costs for people and supporting the well-being of students to make sure they are ready and prepared to learn.”

Non-profit organizations, donors and parent advisory councils will continue to play a vital role alongside schools to address student hunger, as it reflects the larger issue of community-based food insecurity.

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Volunteers needed in SD62:

In the west shore of Vancouver Island, Sooke School District 62 (SD62) which delivers public education through schools located in Langford, Colwood, and Sooke (student population about 12,500), is collaborating with Capital Region Food Share Network and their ‘Setting the Table’ program, to organize the person power to deliver food support in schools.

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The organizers apparently need help with:

  • Serving lunch at one of the schools (Savory Elementary), Monday through Friday (11am to noon): 1 or 2 people are needed daily
  • Managing a single table, free food market for families on Fridays – rotating weekly from Savoury Elementary to Ruth King Elementary (1:30 pm to 2:45 pm): 1 or 2 people are needed weekly

Volunteers must be able to commit to the duration of the pilot program, which runs on school days (off Pro-D Days, Stats, and Spring Break) through to the end of the school year in June 2023.

A Vulnerable Sector Criminal Record clearance is required (online link to help volunteers get this) as well as Food Safe 1 certification for any volunteers serving meals (online course). Contact the Food Share Network lead at director@foodsharenetwork.ca .

SD62 Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) organize special events and hot lunch programming; volunteer opportunities are communicated specifically to families by the PACs.

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Feeding Future in SD62:

SD62 will be receiving approximately $1.5 million from the Feeding Future fund. The plan for use of the funds is already in progress, according to school district administration.

Ruth King Elementary, Langford
Ruth King Elementary in central Langford.

Funds will be used to expand a build a broad volunteer base with the appropriate training to handle food safely. There are no specific volunteer opportunities at other SD62 schools at this time.

Removing stigma:

SD62 always has removing stigma top of mind, as seen over the years through the delivery of various programs in creative ways (including the recent affordability top-up to SD62 staff at Christmas 2022).

In the food program at Ruth King Elementary in Langford there are no barriers to receiving the hot lunch on the piloted day. All students in the class are welcome. “Our schools are safe places where students can easily access snacks and healthy foods. For example, some schools have snacks in the office that students can access whenever they need. In others, those snacks are located right in the classroom,” says an SD62 spokesperson.

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Funding allocation per school district | Summary of Grants to Date, 2023-24

Build a School Food Program, to provide guidance to school districts on creating new food programs in their schools

Healthy Schools in BC



mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc, covering news of the Vancouver Island region, BC and national issues through a socioeconomic lens.

The publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), then morphed to a weekly print newspaper Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and then into the weekly PDF/print West Shore Voice News (2014-2020). The news at IslandSocialTrends.ca (2020 to present) is entirely online.

Among many other qualifications, Mary Brooke holds a B.Sc. in Foods & Nutrition, as well as a Certificate in Public Relations and an industry certificate in digital marketing. She reports with the BC Press Gallery.