With about 43 per cent of food bank users being children, the Regina Food Bank has partnered with eight schools around the Queen City to help curb food insecurity among kids.
The new program will include school lunches, weekend snack packs and a summer food hamper program.
Currently one out of eight Saskatchewan kids experiences some form of food insecurity.
Regina Food Bank CEO John Bailey said the program has been a couple years in the making and they’re happy to be able to move forward now.
“This sort of represents a new beginning of meeting people where they are and connecting food and using the power of connection with schools to help increase education initiatives which will hopefully in the long run start addressing and break the cycle of hunger, Bailey said in an interview with CTV Morning Live Regina.
The program will work with the public and catholic school boards first identifying eight schools in need with the food bank then meeting with them to address their specific needs.
“What we want to make sure is that we are not duplicating existing services, so if a school needs a snack program, a lunch program, or maybe even just help connecting kids to food over the summer, we’ll make sure to do that,” Bailey said.
Right now just over 900 students and their families are being served, but Bailey said they will continue working to expand the program with the hope to be at 2,000 by the start of the 2022-23 school year.
Baily said the amount of children who experience hunger in Regina has been a long standing issue.
“For as long as I have been with the food bank the number of folks that we’re serving being kids has always been above 40 per cent, which is disproportionate to the population.”
Bailey said only about 20 per cent of the population in Regina is youth.
“But I think what we see is sort of the cycle of it,” Bailey said. “If you face food insecurity as a child you will probably face it as an adult, so it becomes a cycle that we need to start working to break.”
Bailey said the program will be around $300,000 per year to operate.
“So if people want to provide support they can go to Reginafoodbank.ca and donate now and we’ll make sure those funds go directly to making sure kids get fed,” he said.
Bailey also said canned proteins are currently low at the food bank adding that general monetary donations are also always accepted.
If anyone wants to volunteer at the Regina Food Bank they can do so by first going to their website to sign up.