LAKELAND – The Lakeland Catholic School District (LCSD) is helping their students and families put meals on the table during these hard times.
After offering Easter hampers for families in need, LCSD officially launched a full nutrition program on May 11. Available division-wide, they have implemented a grocery card system in partnership with local grocers for Lakeland Catholic families to access on a biweekly basis.
“LCSD families who are in need can contact their school principal and let them know they would like to be included in this program,” explained communications officer Amanda Wildman. “Once the principal has their name, they will be added to the list for the next biweekly disbursement.”
The program is set-up wherever LCSD has schools, including Bonnyville, Cold Lake, Lac La Biche, and Waskatenau. Since launching the initiative, 140 families have accessed the program within these communities.
The grocery card system allows participants the opportunity to fill their shelves with food their family requires and lessens the burden some may be facing due to the current economic climate.
“We hope the revised school nutrition program will help some of our students and their families who are facing difficulties during these challenging times,” Wildman detailed.
LCSD is currently partnering with Loblaws, which Wildman noted is a company with a “variety of stores within our region.”
“As we move forward with the program, we will bring other grocery store partners on-board in order to provide families with a choice as to where they purchase their groceries from."
When school is in session, LCSD schools have nutrition programs available for students who need it. When classes were cancelled in March due to the coronavirus, the school board set to work on the best way to assist those families after receiving approval from Alberta Education to use the provincial nutrition funding.
“We wanted to be able to continue to offer this support to students and their families while they are learning at home. There was a tremendously positive response to our Easter Hampers of Hope initiative, so we decided to revise our school nutrition program to meet these needs," explained Wildman.
She added, “We’re striving to achieve the goals of the in-school program in our new context by providing a different delivery of the program.”
Any family in need of assistance is encouraged to contact their child's principal for more information and to be included in the program.