By Jensen, Randy on April 3, 2020.
The Lethbridge Food Bank will be receiving a $300,000 grant from Alberta Education to expand its current brown bag lunch program for students studying at home while schools remain closed.
“It’s an incredible grant and funding for us to be able to support our children and youth through a nutrition program,” says Maral Kiani Tari, executive director of the Lethbridge Food Bank. “We are using it to provide children and youth in our community with those meals they may be missing.”
This new money will allow them to greatly expand the food bank’s existing school nutrition programs with Holy Spirit Catholic School Division and Lethbridge School Division, Kiani Tari says, which have gone mobile and have been offering weekly deliveries since the province ordered schools closed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We are just going to take the program and increase the numbers,” she confirms. “And basically reach out to as many families as possible to provide them with the nutritious lunches and meals which would supplement their days for their children.”
The increased provincial funding should allow the food bank to reach more families in need and provide more substantive food options than previously provided, says Kiani Tari.
“Prior to this funding we were doing things like cheese and yogurt, and fruit and (nutrition) bars where the kids can just supplement throughout their day,” she explains. “With the grant now, we are able to look at what we have been putting in the bags and include other items that would make it more of a wholesome meal.”
Kiani Tari says she could use more volunteer delivery drivers as the food bank ramps up its efforts.
“Deliveries are mainly scheduled through MyCityCare,” she explains, “so we would definitely need more volunteers that will be going through that partnership.”
Kiani Tari says it pleases her and her food bank volunteers and staff that they can now offer this service to school-age children and youth in Lethbridge thanks to the provincial grant.
“Kids are still learning at home,” she says, “so this is just for us to be able to support them to continue doing their classes and continue learning even in this situation. It’s incredible to be able to provide that on a greater scale, and know there is food security in that sense.”
To make a donation to the Lethbridge Food Bank or sign up as a volunteer driver go to myvictory.ca/mycitycare/.
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