Red Deer Public donates $39,000 to school lunch program
Imagine coming to school every day without food because there isn't enough food at home. Children should never have to worry about where their next meal will come from. Thanks to the dedication and efforts of The Mustard Seed, hundreds of students in Red Deer and surrounding communities are provided with nutritious lunches every day, ensuring they have an opportunity to focus on learning. That’s why Red Deer Public is donating $39,000 to the Mustard Seed’s School Lunch Program.
One of our priorities at Red Deer Public Schools is equity, which is all about giving life chances to our students. One of the ways we do that is to reduce barriers so that students can focus on learning and achieving their very best.
The Mustard Seed’s School Lunch program has helped touch the lives of students across the city. They have helped reduce barriers for kids by providing 315 healthy lunches each and every day to 19 schools in Red Deer Public. The Mustard Seed also makes and delivers lunches to schools in other divisions in the surrounding area. In the 2020/2021 school year, they made and delivered 78,297 lunches to students.
Every day between 3-9 volunteers are required to ensure the School Lunch Program runs smoothly. Various organizations also volunteer to bag snacks and vegetables.
“We are grateful for the support of the Mustard Seed’s School Lunch Program,” said Board Chair Nicole Buchanan. “By providing a nutritious lunch to our students, it allows them to be in a better position to learn, setting them up for success in the future.”
The donation to the Mustard Seed’s School Lunch Program comes after Red Deer Public received $250,000 in nutrition funding from Alberta Education to be used for breakfast and lunch programs. “Once needs were met at each school in our Division, we felt this was an appropriate way to use the remaining funds as the Mustard Seed’s School Lunch Program directly impacts kids, ensuring they have the best opportunity to reach their full potential,” said Buchanan.
Byron Bradley, the Mustard Seed’s Managing Director of Central Alberta, said they are very grateful for Red Deer Public’s for this generous donation.
“We have seen a significant rise in demand in the program this school year compared to last. Our numbers are up over 25% already this year and unfortunately we broke a monthly record in October with 10,545 lunches, and this past Monday was a new daily record of 637 lunches across 49 schools in six Central Alberta communities,” he said. “Additionally, we are short volunteer delivery drivers and are needing groups to come in from 7:30-8:30 a.m., five days a week to make the fresh lunches. It is a great team building opportunity and possibly your work team can spare an hour in the morning once or twice a month and make a significant difference for the most vulnerable students in our city. If interested, people can go to theseed.ca/volunteer or call 403-352-8028 to sign up.”