Published August 06, 2018 14:00
Schools provide a consistent lunch every day for many kids in Winnipeg’s inner city, but when school lets out for the summer, these kids’ lunches go with it. To face this problem, a global food company stepped in to keep the youth of the city fed during the summer months.
As a part of Winnipeg’s largest lunch program, international food company Sodexo, along with the Winnipeg Harvest, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg have joined together to make and deliver 5,500 free lunches to Winnipeg youth attending city summer camps. The initiative is a part of Sodexo’s global lunch program – Feeding Our Future.
“When the kids get out of school, especially at-risk youth, they lose their free meal a day,” said Cherry Ann Chandler, resident district manager of Corporate Services for Sodexo and one of the local organizers of the Feeding Our Future. “It’s kind of a stop-dead at the end of June and then there’s two months off before (the youth) get back to school. Well if they haven’t had proper nutrition that whole time it just takes them that much longer to be able to learn and pick up where they left off.”
The Feeding Our Future program provides youth between the ages of five and 15 with lunches that include a sandwich, a fruit or vegetable, a cookie and a juice box. In addition, Sodexo has provided a vegetarian lunch for those who require it. The program was launched in Canada in 2001 and has since grown to nine cities across Canada.
This year, Sodexo estimates over 135,000 lunches will be given to at-risk youth across Canada.
“After doing (Feeding Our Future) for so many years, I found it helps to get the next generation to come out and be part of and support the community in different ways than they would normally have done,” said Chandler, who has been a part of the program for 17 years. “Feeding Our Future helps (the youth) to keep their brains active, to give them the proper nutrition and to keep growing.”
The program delivers the lunches to five different Boys & Girls Clubs of Winnipeg programs including the Combating Summer Learning Loss program which provides kids every weekday with physical and educational activities in day-camp setting.
The food for lunches is provided by Sodexo and delivered to the community programs by the Winnipeg Harvest.