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Fuel Up lunch program gets a boost in New Westminster schools

A big donation from the Vancouver Sun Children's Fund will help to offset the drain on the school district's operating funds.
Making sure all students have a healthy lunch is one of the goals of the New Westminster school district's Fuel Up lunch program. The Vancouver Sun Children's Fund is donating $140,000 towards the cost of the program.

The New Westminster school district just got a helping hand in its quest to keep kids fed in school.

The Vancouver Sun Children’s Fund is donating $140,000 towards the district’s Fuel Up lunch program this year.

School district superintendent Karim Hachlaf announced the donation during Tuesday night’s board meeting, noting it’s a significant increase over last year — when the fund provided $40,000 through its Adopt-a-School program.

“The demand of this program only increases to help our families and students around providing healthy, nutritious food in our schools,” Hachlaf said.

During its spring budget discussions, the school board budgeted for more than $200,000 to offset the costs of running the Fuel Up program in 2022/23.

With Fuel Up, families in all elementary and middle schools receive a monthly menu featuring a different selection of hot and cold options each day, and they can opt in to as many lunches as they choose. Full and partial subsidies are available when needed, but the majority of families pay full price for the meals — with 25 cents from the price of a small entrée and 50 cents from the price of a large entrée going towards the cost of subsidies.

The goal is to provide stigma-free meals for everyone; students in a classroom don’t know whose meals are subsidized and whose aren’t.

The money brought in from the fully paid meals hasn’t been enough to offset the rising demand for subsidies, so the district has been funding the program out of its operating budget.

The $140,000 donation will help to offset the drain on the district’s operating funds.

How to donate to the Fuel Up program

The school district also accepts donations towards the program from individuals and families.

Anyone who wants to make a donation to help the lunch program can do so via the New Westminster school district's School Cash Online portal. Use the pull-down menu to designate the donation to "Fuel Up School Nourishment Program."

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