The diligent staff of George Jay Elementary school in Victoria were discovered hard at work on Tuesday, assembling a sumptuous, healthful lunch, at no cost, for approximately 30 youngsters. This commendable initiative seeks to feed those students who might otherwise have to forego a midday meal.
The school’s affable principal, Sarah Winkler, asserts that these lunches comprise an integral component of the daily routine for a significant number of students. She revealed how the provision of nutritious lunches is transforming the daily experience of kids who need it the most.
The funds for these meals are drawn from the provincial coffers, having been earmarked in this spring’s budget. This initiative dispenses $214 million over a trio of years to a multitude of school districts across B.C, an unparalleled investment in a school meals program as noted by B.C’s Education Minister, Rachna Singh.
Adam Olsen, Green Party MLA for Saanich North, endorses the funding, yet advocates for its extension. He champions the introduction of universally free, nutritious lunches for all children within the province. His intent is to create an unbiased environment that allows every student an equal opportunity to learn.
Debbie Field, who helms the Coalition for Healthy School Food, recognizes that B.C. is pioneering the provision of funded lunches amongst all provinces. Her organization is campaigning for the federal government in Ottawa to contribute towards school lunches nationally. She strongly advocates for Canada to follow in the footsteps of the remaining G7 countries by adopting a cost-sharing program between levels of government.
With food prices on the rise, the staff at George Jay Elementary foresee the number of students partaking in the free lunch program escalating to approximately 80 in the near future. Aligned with the district’s capacity, the staff believes they can accommodate this surge. The remarkable influence that this program has had on students’ readiness to learn has been underscored by the staff.
Minister Singh has expressed eagerness to benefit from any potential federal assistance and signaled that the possibility of additional provincial funds for school food programs remains open. Nevertheless, the province intends to hold further deliberations until district feedback is received at the culmination of the three-year pilot project.