Regina Food Bank, in partnership with Regina Public Schools and Regina Catholic Schools launch a new School Food Program to improve food security and attendance in eight Regina schools. The School Food Program will feed over 2,000 students year-round. The new program represents a significant investment in combatting childhood food insecurity, enabled through a community partnership model. AGT Foods has committed to a three-year partnership, providing $75,000 in food, and Knight Automotive Group has committed $60,000 through a one-year partnership. Food will be provided through four models:
School Food Pantry
Students will be empowered and supported with school-based “free grocery stores” allowing them to choose weekend food items to support their health and learning over the weekend, while learning about nutrition and food preparation.
Weekend Snack Packs
Weekend Snack Packs will go home on Fridays, encouraging attendance on these days, which statistically are the days of lowest attendance.
Approximately 50-75 lunches will be delivered to each school, three times weekly, ensuring every student receives a hand-up to realize their potential.
Summer Hamper Program
Over 500 families will receive food and critical household items throughout the summer, ensuring that students remain connected to community supports.
Forty-three per cent of Regina Food Bank users are children, and one in eight kids in Saskatchewan experiences food insecurity. For children and youth, food insecurity is a major driver for poor literacy, chronic mental and physical health problems, social exclusion, and suicide risk.
“To learn well, our children and youth need to eat well. The summer hamper program has allowed us to stay connected to our students through the summer months, and the lunches and snacks help us put our students in a position to reach their potential,” says Angela Hutton – Principal, Albert School.
The School Food Program is designed to complement existing food supports and address gaps that cause hunger. It accelerates a successful pilot with Albert Community School and Scott Collegiate in 2021, which saw hundreds of students receive food hampers through the summer months, and this school year.
Regina Food Bank has been addressing record demand for its services by exploring new ways to support the community and has found that community partnerships are the fastest way to fight hunger, says John Bailey – CEO, Regina Food Bank. “No child should go hungry, and by partnering with our schools and educators, who are closest to the need, we can get healthy food into hungry stomachs so students can thrive in the classroom and the community.”
Regina Food Bank is funded entirely by donors and community investment partnerships, and operates without government funding. It benefits from robust community support and the local agricultural industry. Murad Al-Katib, CEO, AGT Foods, believes it is a responsibility to feed our neighbors.
“We are one of the largest suppliers of pulse and food ingredients in the world, but while we send food to over 100 countries, we know there is so much need at home,” says Al-Katib. “My wife Michelle volunteers in reading programs with elementary school students, so we see first-hand the need. Access to affordable and healthy food is paramount as we know that nutrition is a key building block of educational outcomes. That is why my family and AGT Foods have joined with Knight Automotive Group to invest into this program.”
Regina Food Bank is a non-profit charity with a mission to serve those most vulnerable in our community by providing programs and service directly and through partnerships in the areas of food provision, essential skills development, and connections to the community supports and opportunities.