New West school nutrition program sees significant signup

The school district’s new nutrition program is seeing significant signup as it continues to expand to the remaining non-secondary schools in the city.

So far, 937 families have signed up for the program, according to Quirine Gamblen, director of instruction programs and planning, at a recent school board meeting.

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Despite the increasing signup, the program still isn’t seeing significant levels of subsidies being given out, Gamblen added. The program is designed to make it easy for families in need to access affordable, subsidized lunches without putting students in awkward positions.

Lord Kelvin Elementary has the highest number of subsidies requested, with 20 subsidies currently.

“We expected a much higher number,” Gamblen said.

She added that only 17-18 per cent of signups are ordering meals so far, but the district isn’t having any challenges working its way to meeting its minimum requirements for meal orders.

As of Oct. 1, the requirement is for the district to order 200 meals per day, and by Oct. 24, the requirement will be 550 meals. But as of Sept. 24, the district was already ordering 418 meals per day, and that’s with several schools still not participating.

“While I was initially quite worried about whether we would actually make our targets, it’s looking promising,” Gamblen said.

She added that the district is seeing a “significant number” of staff signing up for the program as well.

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