La Cantine pour tous calls for a universal school lunch program

Photo credit: La Cantine pour tous

As the provincial elections approach, the non-profit organization La Cantine pour tous is seeking a commitment from the parties for the establishment of a universal school meals program in Quebec. In all regions, the organization invites its partners, allies, sympathizers and parents to make applicants aware of the importance of this project.

Although the program The canteen in the schools is in full swing and that it benefits from both recognition and financial assistance from the Quebec government, the organization believes that to reach all the schools, it must move up a gear.

“We are not at the dream stage, it is within our reach: the impressive growth of The canteen in the schools demonstrates this, says Donald Boisvert, president of La Cantine pour tous, in a press release. It is an inspiring project, which can serve as a model in Quebec. It draws its strength from the mobilization of everyone, in each region: caterers, schools, school service centres, parents, players in the agri-food sector… I believe that it is this dynamic that will allow us to implement a program across Quebec. »

According to the organization, the universality of a healthy school food program is a question of equity. It would also make it possible to avoid the stigmatization experienced when a food aid measure only targets pupils from disadvantaged families.

“A child who has an empty stomach or who cannot count on a sufficient nutritional intake to function well sees his chances of success in school compromised”, can we read in the press release. The organization believes that all children should have access to healthy and nutritious meals in order to promote their learning, their academic success and the adoption of healthy lifestyle habits.

A growing program

In the province, one in six children lived in a food-insecure household in 2018, according to data from La Cantine pour tous. Today, he considers that the rise in food prices is creating additional pressure on these households.

In 2019, three schools in Montreal and Quebec took part in the pilot project The canteen in the schools, a program of healthy and affordable school meals, prepared by local caterers from the social economy. This year, 40 schools in six regions of the province – Montreal, Quebec, Laval, Lac-Saint-Jean, Estrie and Lanaudière – are concerned. The program therefore uses the services of 12 caterers who prepare meals for 15,000 students, the price of which is adjusted according to the family budget, thanks to a voluntary contribution.

La Cantine pour tous is a food security charity whose mission is to promote food security for Quebecers by facilitating access to healthy and affordable meals, especially for children and seniors.

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Key words:

Quebec (province)
Institutional Services

La Cantine pour tous calls for a universal school lunch program