Manitoba Government News Release–The Manitoba government is investing $1.2-million to extend the Home Nutrition and Learning Program until the end of March, helping to protect more than 1,800 families and 4,300 children who are at risk of food insecurity because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced today.
“We have listened to families and have heard their message loud and clear: this program is working,” said Stefanson. “By extending the Home Nutrition and Learning Program until the end of March, our government is committed to ensuring thousands of children will continue to receive nutritious breakfast boxes provided through community partners that share our commitment to this project. Our government remains committed to protecting Manitobans and supporting families during this difficult time.”
With this second extension to the program, the Manitoba government has now invested $5.1-million and worked with community partners across the province to deliver it since its launch. The program is delivered by Andrews Street Family Centre Inc. and Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre Inc. in Winnipeg, Samaritan House in Brandon, Cross Lake Community Council in partnership with Food Matters Manitoba in the community of Cross Lake, and Bayline Regional Roundtable in Thicket Portage, Pikwitonei, Ilford/War Lake and Wabowden.
“This program is amazing,” said Carol Sanoffsky, administrator, Bayline Regional Roundtable. “Because of COVID-19, travel for groceries has been very difficult and inconvenient for many families in the Bayline region. This program is helping so many people and is basically saving lives. Many families have told us they don’t know what they would do without the Home Nutrition and Learning Program. We are so happy to be able to provide families with fresh produce and we love seeing kids’ faces when they see all the fresh fruit!”
This second extension will assist in the ongoing evaluation of the pilot project. Initial feedback from families and agencies has been favourable, with both groups satisfied overall. To date, some of the feedback from families receiving the nutritious breakfast food and recipes includes: “The fact that government saw a need and took action was awesome, and it was really important that there was a quick action, knowing that this wasn’t going away,” and, “Everything is always good, it’s like opening presents at Christmas.”
Extending the program through the winter months has been a key theme in the initial feedback to the government. Children will continue to receive packages of healthy food and learning activities developed by the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. These packages provide consistent quality meals and are delivered to more than 4,300 children by community partners.
For more information on the pilot Home Nutrition and Learning Program, Manitobans are encouraged to visit https://mbnutritionlearning.ca/ to learn about it and to explore the available resources.