Nutrition program expands at local schools

Richard Froese
An additional $250,000 from the provincial government has been dished out to High Prairie School Division to expand the nutrition program.

“High Prairie School Division is very pleased that the Alberta government has continued to fund the school nutrition project,” says Tammy Henkel, who chairs the board, states a news release from HPSD.

École Routhier School in Falher and High Prairie Elementary School partnered with local grocers to provide lunches for over 200 students per day and another 100- plus snacks per day.

“Freson Bros. in High Prairie and New Horizon Co-op in Falher have been instrumental in this program’s success,” Henkel says.

HPSD was one of 14 school divisions selected in the pilot program announced last November, with funding of $250,000.

Part of the funding will help High Prairie Elementary School purchase commercial kitchen equipment to facilitate and potentially expand the program.

“Thank you to both of our local grocers and to the Government of Alberta for making this nutrition project a reality,” Henkel says.
“We look forward to continuing with the nutrition pilot project in our division.”

Both schools appreciate the value of the program, Henkel says.

Alberta’s school nutrition program is being expanded to every school division in the 2017-18 school year, with an additional $10 million from Budget 2017.

“Giving students access to a daily nutritious meal not only ensures they have the fuel they need to get through the school day, it also helps develop the skills that ensure lifelong healthy nutrition,” Premier Rachel Notley states in a news release from the government.

Nutrition is highly valued by the ministry.

“It’s been incredible to witness the unique and innovative approaches that school boards have taken to implement the program and the resulting impact it is having in the classroom,” says Education Minister David Eggen, who visited High Prairie Elementary School on Nov. 29.

School boards must demonstrate how their program adheres to the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth and are required to include a nutrition education component as part of the program.

Alberta Education will hold a series of discussions with community partners, researchers and other representatives about the nutrition program’s rollout to date and how it can be strengthened.

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