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Ottawa promising $1 billion for healthy foods in schools

With the budget set to be tabled on April 16, both local MPs promised money to make sure that children across Canada will have access to healthy nutritious food at school.

THUNDER BAY — With just days to go until the unveiling of the 2024 federal budget, local members of Parliament are promising funds to ensure that children across Canada will have access to healthy, nutritious food at school.

Both Patty Hajdu (Thunder Bay-Superior North) and Marcus Powlowski (Thunder Bay-Rainy River) were on hand Monday at Evergreen United Neighbourhood to pledge that dollars will be set aside to put food in tummies, provided that the budget passes in the House of Commons.

“We know that healthy, nutritious food is important for growth,” Hajdu said.

“It’s also critical for kids to have that dignity and that sense of inclusion in the lunchroom.”

When asked about the timing of when the potential dollars might roll out, Hajdu noted that it will be done in coordination with the province of Ontario and the school boards.

“We want to make sure that this is something that every kid can participate in with dignity. Oftentimes, participation in these programs requires somebody to put their hand up and say, ‘I can't afford food; I don't have food at home.’

"All of that can actually deter a child from asking for help or can make a child experience shame.”

Hajdu also unveiled potential measures on March 28 regarding early childhood education.

Executive director Linda Bruins agrees that feeding children directly is the right thing to do.

Bruins noted that “Children don’t have any say in how they're raised and how they get food.”

“Children sometimes come from homes that have empty refrigerators, and that problem can be tied to the rising cost of rent or utilities on a family.”

“If you're fortunate to be in this neighbourhood, Evergreen allows children the access to food that they can eat and take home with them. It's truly heartwarming to help feed kids in the community.”

Evergreen has been operating for 16 years and is approaching its 11th year operating out of the house on the corner of Heron and McKenzie Street.

Evergreen receives support from the District of Thunder Bay Social Services Administration Board, United Way and the City of Thunder Bay. 

 Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland will table the federal budget on April 16.


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