The Muskoka North Good Food Co-op has launched a new initiative for students that will be sure to satisfy their hunger.
After reading a recent Ontario mental health report, the members of the co-op learned that the groups being most impacted by COVID-19 were women and families.
They wanted to make sure that students were being fed nutrient-dense meals every day to help alleviate some of the stress that families are feeling.
“It was throughout years of experience that I recognized the profound benefits and outcomes that occur when youth are well fed,” said Co-op manager Kelli Ebbs who worked with the Breakfast Club of Canada for many years. “These effects are immediate and the results are impactful: on the child, the school, and their families. Ensuring that youth receive a nutritionally balanced mid-day meal can positively impact their educational outcomes, their mental wellness, and their ability to face their day in a more balanced way. Teachers often reflect how having well-fed students in the classroom contributes to more teachable time in the classroom.”
Students can walk down to the Co-op’s Main Street location and, for just $5, enjoy organic foods that have been locally grown and sourced. Students can purchase the meals themselves, but the Co-op has also launched a program where family, friends, or community members can purchase a booklet of 10 vouchers for a student—which would provide two weeks worth of lunches—for $50.
The booklets can be purchased at both of the Co-op’s locations—on Main Street or Crescent Road—to be given to a student you know or can be left with the Co-op for donation to the Huntsville High School guidance department who will provide it to a student in need.
Just a week into the initiative, 10 booklets have already been purchased and donated to the school.
“This year, food insecurity is an even bigger issue than usual, and serving accessible school meals while following pandemic protocols has always been costly but is even more so now,” said Ebbs.
While the menu will change daily, foods that can be expected include: fresh soups, stews, chilli with bread, spaghetti and Caesar salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, grilled cheese, egg salad and tuna sandwiches, samosas and more. There will also always been vegetarian options. All meals will be served with a piece of fruit.
“The number of students we have coming in has been growing every day,” said staff member Megan Mace. “They have all been super pumped about the lunches.”
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