School district donates food to food banks

With schools closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one Eastern Ontario school board has decided to help out local food banks with its school nutrition program supply.

The Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB), in cooperation with the Upper Canada Leger Centre for Education and Training (UCLCET), will donate the supplies from its school nutrition programs to food banks within its operations area to help families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are happy that the food and funds that go into these programs will continue to be used as they were intended,”stated John McAllister, UCDSB board chair. “There are a number of children that rely on these programs, and a number of families that already rely on our community food banks. We hope that diverting this funding and the food will help alleviate some of the added pressure that is being felt by these vital community services.”

The UCLCET is a non^profit agency, funded through the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. It operates runs the school nutrition program for the UCDSB, and other school districts, both English and French and including the Catholic districts, within the Eastern Ontario region. The agency, with the support of the school districts, is reallocating program funding to assist local food banks to purchase foodstuffs for their shelves.

Also all of the existing perishable breakfast foods, including cheese, yogurt, cereal bars, bread, and other items already bought and available will be donated to the food banks, with the understanding that these donations are dedicated to families with school-aged children.

“The donations will help our students fuel their learning at home during a time of social distancing,” stated Matt Raby, UCLCET executive director. “We want to ensure all our students are well-cared for during this unusual time, and that they’re prepared to learn when they return to class.”

The non-perishable food donations bought through the funding reallocation will be delivered this week, starting April 1, and divided among the Hawkesbury Central Food Bank, the Rockland Help Centre’s food bank operation, Operation Harvest Sharing in Brockville, the South Grenville Food Bank in Prescott, Agape Centre in Cornwall, and the Gananoque Food Bank.

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