The Mustard Seed Red Deer’s School Lunch Program is a vital program that provides lunches for students from impoverished families who otherwise may go without. The quality of food is essential, and an important ingredient, that contributes to the children’s success and development.
“The School Lunch Program is an incredible resource to offer our families,” says Kersten, a Community Liaison Worker at a Red Deer school. “When I hear or know of a family that is struggling financially, one of the first resources I tell them about is the School Lunch Program.
"I think it takes a little bit of stress off of the family, they know that when money is tight and they are facing food insecurity that their children have a lunch guaranteed for them at school. I think it is great for the student too, to know they consistently have a meal waiting for them.”
Every morning during the school week, dedicated volunteers help prepare and deliver the lunches. Each lunch consists of a fresh sandwich (children can choose from cheese, turkey, ham, jam, pea butter and jam, and a halal option) a serving of fresh fruit and vegetables, and a yummy treat like a homemade cookie or granola bar.
When students had to make the transition to learning from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Mustard Seed was still there to support them. “When schools shut down I know food was a concern for a lot of our families. The Mustard Seed supplied us with lunches to deliver to families' homes. I heard many times how grateful they were to receive this food, that they would not have had access to before” says Kersten.
It’s crucial that all students have access to nutritious food so that they can focus on learning instead of hunger. In 2021, we provided approximately 66,774 lunches to 48 schools across Central Alberta.
“My whole family has received lunches from The Mustard Seed. Without the program I wouldn’t have anything to eat for lunch. Thank you for providing this service.” - Student