B.C. students struggle with food insecurity

New B.C. government funding doesn't address post-secondary student hunger

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by Mateo Muego

Langara student Naomi Damian doesn’t remember the last time they ate three meals in a day.

Sometimes, it’s because of the lack of time, but more often, it’s because they don’t have enough food.

They struggle to know where their next meal will come from. Damian hopes there can be a program in place at Langara that will assist students getting the recommended three meals in a day.

“[Langara] should focus on more portable healthy meals rather than all of that fast food,” they said.

The B.C. provincial government announced on April 4 that it is giving $214 million to B.C. school districts to create new food programs and to enhance existing ones over the next three years. The province’s new Feeding Futures funding will ensure students 18 and younger have access to adequate nutrition in their day-to-day lives.

While the government focuses on B.C.’s school districts, additional government funding is currently not available for post-secondary food programs.

Langara has a program similar to a food bank, where students are able to access free meals. Students go through an application process to be eligible for this service and receive 14 – 21 meals a month.

For some students, like Damian, it is not enough.

Government funding not available for post-secondary food insecurity

Langara students aren’t the only ones struggling with food insecurity.

Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh said at today’s press conference about the Feeding Futures program that she is very proud of the work the government is doing to ensure every student in need is fed at school on a daily basis.

“We want our kids to have the opportunity to reach their full potential in school to set them up for a good future,” said Singh.

B.C. is the first province to allocate part of the province’s budget to supporting students facing food insecurity, Minister Singh said.

“We all know that it is hard to concentrate in class when you haven’t had enough to eat,” said Singh.

Richmond school trustee Debbie Tablotney, said that making sure every child is able to know where and when their next meal will come from is of utmost importance.

Partners are vital for food security, said Tablotney. She noted certain organizations are able to provide students with healthy food and information about nutrition.

MLA Aman Singh said, “I’m really proud of the work we’re doing to help reduce the pressure on parents’ wallets and making sure our kids are fed and ready to learn.”

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