You can add St. Vincent Place to the list of organizations in Sault Ste. Marie that are making sure students do not go back to school without a lunch.
The men’s shelter and food bank has created Lunches for Learning. Each Friday, parents can pick up a week's worth of school friendly lunches for their children.
“There are a lot of programs that run in schools, but there are still kids who don’t feel comfortable accessing those programs for whatever reason,” said Sara McCleary, marketing and fundraising coordinator with St. Vincent Place.
“There’s some stigma attached to it sometimes. You know, some kids go to school without lunch might be teased by their peers. So we want to try to get rid of that and make sure every kid feels comfortable (and ensure) they’re not impacted socially or academically by their lack of lunch.”
50 students signed up already
The program has only been running for two days and McCleary said 50 children have already signed up. Each lunch packet will have enough food to provide lunches for the following week. “Things like school safe granola bars, yogurt, cheese strings, juice boxes," she said. "There’s also going to be a lot of fresh fruits and veggies. We want to make sure it’s as healthy as possible. There will also be sandwich bread along with either tuna, bologna, lunchmeat -- something like that to make sure they can have sandwiches.”
Algoma Family Service has been running a local student nutrition program for the past 11 years. Each day, students can get a free breakfast, lunch or snack if needed. Officials said programs like these are needed in the community and more than a million meals are served in the Algoma region each year. Nearly 6,000 students access the program each day.
The St. Vincent Place program is open to any student, whether they are attending school or studying from home this year.