Students throughout Leeds and Grenville were well-fed this year thanks to the Nutrition 4 Kids Program. 

Matthew Raby is Executive Director of the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training, which is responsible for the program. 

He says this past school year, student nutrition programs reached over 40,000 students across Eastern Ontario, which has enabled over 200 schools to provide breakfast and snack programs for students. 

“We’ve been able to adapt quickly and ensure these meals are reaching students in different and creative ways, wherever they are,” Raby said. “It’s been an incredible response from volunteers from across our communities in schools.” 

With the pandemic, he says this year has been unlike any other when it comes to ensuring students grades K-through-12, are eating healthy. 

Raby says in typical times, healthy food is offered by these programs at no cost to students through food bins, buffet settings or student self-preparation areas. 

However, this year, student nutrition programs in schools could only offer pre-packaged individual servings, with strict health guidelines for the preparation and distribution of foods.

Raby says schools and communities have really come together to make sure students have healthy food options to promote better learning, wherever they may be learning.

“When we can make sure our students have these programs, it really helps ensure a foundation for nutrition, which has been proven to be vital for student’s learning,” Raby said. 

Raby says all this would not have been possible were it not for volunteers, schools and local food banks all doing their part to help provide healthy food to children and youth in the community.