Grande Prairie, AB – Following the indefinite cancellation of classes, Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWPSD) began working with schools to develop a plan to direct the remainder of this year's School Nutrition Program funding to providing greater food security for students and their families during this time of economic uncertainty.
PWPSD Assistant Superintendent Kevin Elias and Brigitte Benning, Indigenous Education Coordinator, looked to school principals for input on how to best serve their students. The support is being shared throughout the division based on student populations and identified needs in each area.
Food distribution is being managed in part through non-profit groups that PWPSD families have either used in the past or identified as ones they would now use, and by schools in areas without established food support agencies.
"With the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting downturn in the economy, many families may be struggling to make ends meet," says Mr. Elias. "We hope that this support provides them some relief and one less thing to worry about at this difficult time."
"School staff will continue to reach out to their families to share the services available to them," adds Ms. Benning.
In Beaverlodge and Sexsmith, funds are being directed to the local food banks. Area churches with established food support programs are also receiving support, including The Salvation Army Food Bank, the Faith In Deed emergency assistance program at the Grande Prairie Alliance Church, and the Wembley United Church Food Bank. The Grande Prairie Friendship Centre is also included in the support network.
The plan will see funds distributed on a monthly basis in April, May and June.
Photo courtesy of Amie Green, Town of Beaverlodge FCSS: Trudy Hodges, FCSS Director for the Town of Beaverlodge, restocks shelves at the Beaverlodge Food Bank. PWPSD's remaining School Nutrition Program funding is being directed to supporting families through monthly donations to food banks and other food support agencies.