Lunch funding advocate wants kids to get at least 1 healthy meal a day

Why doesn't Canada have a nation-wide meal program for children? That's the question Kristy Taylor is asking.

Show Kids You Care wants Ottawa to spend more on meal programs

A group would like to see Ottawa spending $200 million for five years on lunches for school children. (Liz Kloepper)

The United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France — they all have meal programs for their students. 

So why doesn't Canada? That's the question Kristy Taylor is asking.

She's executive director with Show Kids You Care, a national organization promoting healthy meals for children.

The group is part of a national push advocating for a Canada-wide meal program where every student, regardless of need, would have access to one healthy meal a day.

Specifically, it's looking for $200 million a year from Ottawa for five years to help pay for food, kitchen equipment, food safety training, preparation and distribution.

"We feel that Canada is being left behind," she said in an interview with Morning Edition host Sheila Coles.

"Our federal government is not investing in children the way that other countries seem to be able to do. They figured out how to pay for it, how to afford it, how to work the infrastructure."

Taylor says in Regina alone, members of the Show Kids You Care coalition oversee 8,500 meals for children each week. Across Saskatchewan, it's 17,000 snacks and meals each week.

Healthy breakfasts and lunches are critical for success in the classroom, Taylor says.

"We set all these expectations on the without giving them the tools they need to nourish their bodies and nourish their brains. So we need to do something about that," she said.

Taylor is hoping a national meal plan could be in place early as September.