School District 54’s ability to provide food for students is being boosted thanks to a provincial grant. (Contributed photo)

School District 54’s ability to provide food for students is being boosted thanks to a provincial grant. (Contributed photo)

Provincial grant supports school-based food programs

Inflation, cost of living affecting lower income students and families

The majority of a one-time $250,000 grant sent by the provincial government to School District 54 is being used to sustain the various food programs in place at its schools.

Called the Student and Family Affordability Fund, $60 million was sent to the province’s 60 public school districts this fall to buffer the effects of inflation and a general increase in the cost of living on lower income students and families.

“Definitely the bulk of the funds have been allocated to food,” said school superintendent Michael McDiarmid of the money which was distributed to schools based on need and school population.

Remaining monies are being used to pay for school fees for outings, supplies and other education-based expenses.

McDiarmid said school-based food programs for years now have supported the most vulnerable of students.

“Compounding the problem this year is of course the rising cost of food which is now passed on to schools, making budgeting all that more challenging,” he said.

“The families receiving support have felt very grateful. I do wonder about what will happen next year, given that this was a one-time allotment to families,” McDiarmid continued.

The one-time grant is to last for this school calendar year, ending June 2023.

The $250,000 sent to the school district is the minimum amount provided to the 60 school districts.

Similar grants were also provided to private schools in B.C.​​​​​​​​​​​​