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Nov 26
Meal program continues to feed students at Surrey schools

While a lot has changed throughout our schools in recent months, the need for the district’s meal program has remained a constant.

At the November public meeting, Surrey Board of Education trustees received an update on the district’s food security programs, which served more than 100,000 meals in the three months between the return from spring break to the end of the 2019-20 school year in June. The district currently provides breakfast at 65 schools to approximately 1,800 students daily, with lunch programs offered at 33 schools to roughly 2,000 students per day.

COVID-19 has prompted various changes in how the meal program has been implemented, dating back to March when it was adapted as a “grab-and-go” program at nine schools. When schools reopened in September, the program returned to form at many locations, with adjustments to seating, cleaning and food preparation.

Serving spaces have been reconfigured to ensure appropriate physical distancing. Serving staff wear masks and practice frequent handwashing and surface sanitizing, as well as ensuring high-touch surfaces are cleaned and sanitized more often. More prepackaged meals are also being delivered in the interest of health and safety.

Fewer students are accessing the district’s meal programs this fall compared to February (when all students were last in school full-time). The breakfast programs are seeing about 60% of the demand while lunch programs are seeing about 70%, though those numbers are steadily rising. In surveying students, the decrease in demand is largely attributed to concerns about COVID-19 and more students attending blended learning programs.

Throughout this year, donors have been vital in delivering food meal programs without cost overrun to the district. Many local businesses, organizations and individuals have contributed generously in support of feeding Surrey students.

Donations, paired with Community Link grants from the Ministry of Education, provided an opportunity for outreach and continued community connection last spring, with the district offering a delivery service bringing 300 meals to private homes in the spring for students who couldn’t pick up meals. The district also provided gift cards for food suppliers and a grocery drop-off service.

If you are interested in becoming a donor to support this important initiative, please contact the district’s Business Development department by phone at 604-595-6066, or email donations@surreyschools.ca. A tax receipt can be provided for all donations of $25 or more.

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