P.E.I. Home and School Federation wants free lunches for all students
'The quality of lunches in all schools in P.E.I has shown to be not meeting standards'
The P.E.I Home and School Federation wants free healthy lunches in schools for all children.
The group says a province-wide lunch program would ensure students don't go hungry and get proper nutrition.
"If kids are hungry they can't focus as well, and that there might be behaviour issues in the school and it kind of just takes care of that one thing where we can make sure that they're fed and then they can learn," said Home and School Federation president Lisa MacDougall.
High percentage of hungry children
The Home and School Federation passed a resolution last year asking for the lunch program, and plans to push government on it more this year. The group says one in five children in P.E.I. is affected by some level of food insecurity.
"P.E.I. has one of the highest rates of hungry kids in Canada," said MacDougall.
"The way the school day is structured right now show our priorities about curriculum ... and the scores students get on tests and not about health," said MacDougall. The Home and School Federation would like to see current cafeterias operated by private businesses phased out as well.
No plans for provincial program yet
The cost for such a program is expected to be in the millions of dollars. Education Minister Doug Currie said there are no plans for a province wide program at this time. However, the Home and School Federation hopes to start a pilot project at one school and move from there.
The group is optimistic free lunches will be available in some schools in the coming months.
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