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SD57 reviewing food programs in Prince George schools to combat poverty

The committee formed to leverage the province’s new poverty reduction strategy
(via Shutterstock)

It’s no secret that hungry students have more trouble focusing in school than students who are well fed.

As a part of the provinces recently announced Poverty Reduction Strategy, School District 57 (SD57) will be reviewing food programs in schools throughout the district.

Trustee Trent Derrick put forward a motion at the School Board’s April 9 public meeting to form an Ad-Hoc committee that would tackle the issue.

“This came out of the announcement with minister Simpson regarding the announcement of the poverty reduction plan,” said Derrick. “We had a discussion about partnering with different groups, communities, and organizations in order to reduce poverty.”

Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction Shane Simpson came to the Prince George Native Friendship Centre on March 19 to announce the province’s plan and how it will impact the community.

Derrick says the ad-hoc committee would work with possible partners like the city, UNBC, and the ministry of social development to move forward on reducing poverty.

“I think there is an opportunity to review what we are doing with our students and to be able to come up with a report in conjunction with the city to move forward on how we, as a community, can reduce poverty and I think a food strategy is a great opportunity for us.”

The idea to form the committee also received enthusiastic support from the other trustees.

“We do provide breakfast and lunch in some of our schools but not all of our schools and we know many of our children do not have adequate food,” said Trustee Sharel Warrington. “The whole idea is to provide a community wrap around where we are paying attention to how children and families are managing their lives at all time.”

Trustee Ron Polillo added the committee would be an opportunity to enhance the programs the school already offers.

“I think that this committee would have the opportunity along with the board, to meet with municipal representatives and community partners about how we can further the agenda of food programming in our schools,” said Board Chair Tim Bennett.

The motion to form the ad-hoc committee was approved unanimously by the board.