According to Winnipeg Harvest, 41% of all food bank users in Manitoba are children.
This means that about 26,000 children per month seek help due to lack of food. This problem is especially acute on weekends, when children instead of taking a break from school think about filling their own stomach.
On weekdays, most schools in Winnipeg have food programs when children receive breakfast before the start of classes, but on weekends many children simply do not know where to get food. To solve this problem, Winnipeg Harvest launched a new program, at the moment as a pilot project at Mulvey elementary school in the Wolseley neighbourhood.
It is called Breakfast2Go. The essence of the program is that every Friday all schoolchildren can take home two breakfast bags, which they can prepare even without the help of adults. One student who helps distribute breakfast bags said that there is milk, yogurt, fruit, oatmeal, and much more in the packages.
The program was launched in mid-November and more than 1,800 breakfast meals packages were distributed to children. Also, breakfasts take into account the individual needs of the child, such as the necessity to follow a diet.
The idea of creating the program was born in Manitoba, it was invented by nurse Parusia Purohit. Principal Peter Correia said that she, as a medical practitioner, knows best what a growing body needs. He also noted that this initiative really works and helps to supplement what they do on weekdays - more than 150 students eat breakfast every day at school.
In addition to food in each package there is a note with encouraging and motivating phrases. They help to cheer up in a sad time, say schoolchildren. Correia believes that such notes help young Manitobans understand their importance in society.
Of all the G7 countries, Canada is only one in which there is no national school feeding program for schoolchildren, so Winnipeg Harvest works with 130 separate school programs. If the pilot project of Breakfast2Go seems successful, then Winnipeg Harvest plan to expand it throughout the province.