Skip to content

Expanded Nutrition Program for 2024/25 takes next step

The Louis Riel School Division has submitted a plan detailing how to allocate $1.5 million of provincial funding to expand school nutrition programming for the 2024/25 school year. 

The plan, submitted May 1, proposes to set aside $480,000 of the $1.5 million total to provide an extra boost to the four schools of greatest need.

The province has made an additional $2 million available to LRSD on an application basis. These funds, if granted, must be directed to family outreach initiatives or support for eligible after-school, summer, and school break programs.

The ASPIRE program, an equity-based program out of René Deleurme Centre that helps students grow as learners throughout the summer, will be applying for funding, and LRSD Assistant Superintendent Darcy Cormack said in a May 7 board of trustees meeting the division will gladly support applications from other summer and after-school programming partners, such as The Peaceful Village.

The plan designates the bulk of the funding — 75 per cent — directly to purchasing the food and beverages that will nourish students. A small amount would be set aside for equipment purchases, and 16 per cent would cover staffing costs.

The province has outlined guidelines around the funding for school divisions to meet, including leveraging existing partnerships, being barrier-free and stigma free, meeting the needs of individual schools and communities, following Canada’s nutritional guidelines, considering and accommodating food allergies and cultural dietary needs to ensure accessibility, exploring local food options and developing partnerships with nearby suppliers, and respecting public health guidelines and requirements for food handling.

Manitobans first learned about the funding to bolster and expand school nutrition programs back on January 30, 2024. 

The provincial government announced a total of $30 million spread out over school divisions around the province. Of that, $15 million will be going directly to school divisions for local meal programs, based on enrolment and socio-economic factors; $6 million is allocated to public schools in communities with the highest socio-economic need; and $9 million in grants is available for nutrition programming on an application basis, which will support the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba, family outreach initiatives, and support for after-school, summer, and school break programs. 

A response to the proposed plan is expected by June 1. The funded programming is set to roll out in September 2024.