PEI

P.E.I. School Food Program website down until fall

At least 3,500 parents who use the P.E.I. School Food Program will no longer be able to pre-pay their children's meals until next year. As of May 14, the website that is used to order online has completely shut off due to technical issues that can't be rectified in the short term. 

'Our team is working hard to resolve these issues,' says program executive director

The government-subsidized school food program offers two weeks' worth of lunch menu options for students in K-12 that their parents can buy in advance. It is also a pay-what-you-can program for up to $5 per meal. (PEI's Healthy School Food Program/Facebook)

At least 3,500 parents who use the P.E.I. School Food Program will no longer be able to pre-pay for their children's meals until next year.

The government-subsidized school food program offers two weeks' worth of lunch menu options for students in K-12 that their parents can buy in advance on a pay-what-you-can model up to $5 per meal.

On May 14, the website to order online shut down due to technical issues.

The program sent an email to parents Wednesday to tell them about the problem.

"Our team is working hard to resolve these issues prior to the next school year so that we can continue to offer the service to students," said Katelyn MacLean, the food program's executive director.

Some parents have already put in calls about the disruption but Katelyn MacLean, the food program's executive director, said the feedback has been good. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

MacLean said mail orders have already been secured until May 27 and the contingency plans to supplement the rest of the year don't start until May 30.

One of the plans is to place the same 25,000 orders it received from the last ordering cycle.

This means parents who ordered meals for May 16-27 will continue receiving the same meals for their children until June 24 — this would cover most of the students who regularly use the food program, she said.

Parents who were not able to order meals but want their children to continue getting them are advised to contact the program by May 25 at noon.

MacLean said they also plan to sending extra meals to all schools to accommodate those who did not meet the May 25 deadline.

Parents are still encouraged to pay what they can.

At least 3,500 parents who use the P.E.I. School Food Program will no longer be able to pre-pay for their children's meals until next year. (PEI's Healthy School Food Program/Facebook)

She said food that is not eaten will get redistributed to other students or staff.

"Our program is a lunch service, but there are students out there who need suppers and snacks and other meals as well," said MacLean.

"So our schools play a really valuable role in making sure that students get the meals that they've ordered, and those who may not be there or may not want them can be redistributed."

Some parents have already called about the disruption, but MacLean said the feedback has been good.

"I think everybody's understanding ... there are times when technical issues do happen and we are doing our best," she said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mikee Mutuc is a reporter and producer with CBC P.E.I. She was previously based in Toronto, and has worked on stories for CBC's The National, CBC's Cross Country Checkup, CBC Toronto and CBC Kids News. She graduated with a bachelor of journalism degree from Humber College in 2019. You can email story ideas to: Mikee.Mutuc@cbc.ca.

With files from Steve Bruce

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