Manitoba premier commits $30M to expand school nutrition program

By The Canadian Press

The Manitoba government is committing $30 million to expand school meal programs across the province.

Premier Wab Kinew says the money will be in place for the next school year, following through on an election campaign promise last fall.

The NDP government says the goal is to have some sort of school nutrition program — whether it’s a meal or snacks — eventually available in every school in the province.

As an initial step, the province is putting up $1.3 million in the current school year to eliminate a wait list of schools that have applied for funding for nutrition programs.

Wendy Bloomfield, with the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba, says programs vary — some offer a full breakfast or lunch, and others offer snacks.

The non-profit council administers grants to school nutrition programs, and Bloomfield says the group is hiring an additional dietitian to support the programs and ensure kids receive nutritious food.

“As a former teacher and principal, I’ve seen first-hand when students have access to healthy, fresh food every day, it boosts attendance, learning and success,” Education Minister Nello Altamare said Tuesday.

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