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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
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 email@example.com. A tax
receipt can be provided for all donations of $25 or more.