Today, Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington, announced a federal government investment of nearly $ 24,000 in Halton Food for Thought through the local Local Infrastructure Infrastructure Fund (LFIF).
LFIF, a five-year, $ 50-million program under the Food Policy for Canada, is aimed at community-based, not-for-profit organizations and supports our country in meeting its commitments under the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including to end hunger, promote good health, cut food waste, and encourage sustainable food systems. The mission of the program is to reduce food insecurity by establishing and / or strengthening local food systems in the medium to longer term. The first phase of the program saw 362 projects across Canada receive funding valued at up to $ 25,000 per project, for a total of $ 6.6 million.
LFIF funds will help Halton Food for Thought expand its reach to 2,500 Halton students who currently don't have a Student Nutrition Program (SNP) while continuing to ensure existing SNPs remain strong and sustainable.
Halton Food for Thought has been feeding Halton students for over two decades. Founded in 1997 by a group of parents who noticed that not every child at school had food in their lunch box and that for many kids what food they had did not contain enough nutrients to fuel their minds and bodies for learning, Halton Food For Thought provides more than 79,000 Halton students access to healthy food at school daily. With over 2,100 volunteers, including 1,060 students, Halton Food for Thought ensures over 75% of all Halton students have access to a SNP.
COVID-19 has intensified the food needs of the most vulnerable people but, above all, it is having a major impact on the operation of organizations working to improve food security. In April, the federal government also launched a separate, $ 100 million emergency fund under LFIF to support national, regional, and local organizations across Canada that can reach people and communities experiencing food insecurity and who have been impacted by COVID-19. This fund supports the purchase and distribution of food on an emergency basis across the country.
“Every single student should have a safe and reliable source of healthy food during the school day,” said MP Damoff. “Studies have determined that by feeding students in school, we not only give them the energy they need to learn, but also teach them healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Having visited these programs in our schools, I've seen first-hand the impact they have on students. Our government is thrilled to support the efforts of Halton Food for Thought to ensure Halton students have the food they need to achieve. ”
“By giving every Halton student access to healthy, nutritious food, Halton Food for Thought is giving them the best chance at success. Our government recognizes that our communities are better for the hard work and compassion of organizations like Halton Food for Thought, that are dedicated to ensuring no student is left behind. ”
Pam Damoff, Member of Parliament for Oakville North-Burlington
"COVID-19 has put greater pressure and demand on local food organization that are providing nutritious food to those who need it most. The project announced today has a meaningful impact on the food security for vulnerable people in the Halton region, and helps give Halton Food for Thought the tools they need to continue their excellent work. Our Government is working hard to ensure Canadians have access to nutritious food and to improve our food system all across the country. ”
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri -Food
“Halton Food for Thought programs and partners value providing high quality local food to our students. We are very grateful to the Government of Canada for this Local Food Infrastructure Grant which will help us, our students and our local farmers achieve our goals. ”
Tracy Hussey, MSc RD, Executive Director, Halton Food for Thought
“The Local Food Infrastructure Fund strengthens our food systems to ensure they are more resilient, integrated, and sustainable while facilitating access to safe and nutritious food for at-risk populations. Since 1997, Halton Food for Thought has been providing healthy and nutritious food to students in Halton. Their programs feed students from kindergarten to high school and are free of charge, to everyone in a school community. Congratulations to Halton Food for Thought on receiving this funding. I wish you continued success. ”
Hon. Karina Gould, Member of Parliament for Burlington