A provincial pilot project to provide nutritious breakfasts to students is coming to Ponoka.
Alberta Education’s new School Nutrition Program, which ran last year in 14 school divisions, was announced earlier this year that the project would expand to include all 60 school divisions in the province.
What that means for Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) is an opportunity to implement the program in one of its elementary schools. It was determined, based on census data, that Ponoka Elementary School (PES) would be the best fit for the program.
“We are very excited for the students to have this new opportunity to receive a nutritious snack daily to promote and support healthy living,” said WCPS superintendent Jayson Lovell.
“I commend Ponoka Elementary School administration and staff for creating a solid proposal that we are confident will meet the requirements from Alberta Education. Once approval is granted, the school will be moving forward quickly to prepare for this program starting in early September for school start-up.”
Lovell added the program will be funded to the tune of $141,000 from the province to enhance daily breakfast opportunities and options for all of the school’s 480 students for the next school year.
The snacks provided will align with the Alberta Nutrition Guidelines for Children and Youth in order to ensure the students know what food is being served.
Lovell also stated that an outside vendor will be chosen to prepare and deliver the food, with the contract handed out through an open tender process.
“Parents and students will receive a monthly calendar of daily snacks to ensure they are aware of what will be provided at the school,” he said.
“A number of enhancements will also be made to Ponoka Elementary School for food storage to ensure safe handling and managing.”
In addition, WCPS will designate a Food Program Supervisor for the school to ensure the entire program is managed effectively.
The overall School Nutrition Program is being funded by the provincial government through a $10 million commitment made in the most recent budget. The funds are being given directly to school divisions to establish new programs or enhance existing ones in identified schools.