Frequently Asked Questions

Who can participate in our student nutrition program?

Ontario Student Nutrition Programs are universally accessible, which means that ALL students in your school MUST have access to your student nutrition programs. No student should ever be turned away due to inability to pay or because they are perceived to not be ‘in need’.

*New December 2020Student Nutrition Programs and COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

How can our Food for Learning funding be spent?
All funds provided through Food for Learning can only be used to purchase food and consumable supplies (such as napkins, dish soap, etc.).

We recognize that there are many events, activities and celebrations in schools that involve food, however, Food for Learning funding and food donations can only be used in support of student nutrition programs (breakfast, snack, early morning meal and lunch programs).

Schools can apply for a Special Projects grant to help with food costs related to an activity outside of a student nutrition program. For more information, and to find the request form, please go to the FORMS section of the Food for Learning website.

What if we want to serve food that does not meet the MCCSS Nutrition Guidelines?

All schools offering an Ontario Student Nutrition Program must follow the MCCSS Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines 2016, not just when purchasing food with funding provided by Food for Learning, but for all food served through your breakfast, snack, early morning meal or lunch programs.  Please refer to these guidelines when planning program menus. The Nutrition Guidelines can be found on the Food for Learning website under NUTRITION TIPS.

If a program consistently served food items that do not meet the Nutrition Guidelines, then that program may be in jeopardy of not receiving future student nutrition program funding.

How do we access the funds allotted to our school?
In June of each year, schools are required to submit a program renewal for the following academic year.  Included in the renewal package is the budget, with your funding request.  In September, each school is notified of the grant amount approved for that year.

Funding to schools, from Food for Learning, is provided in three ways:

  • Cash grant:  the cash grant will be provided in two equal installments in September and January
  • Grocery cards:  these are the proceeds of The Grocery Foundation’s annual Toonies for Tummies campaign and are sent out to schools in late fall
  • Hub purchases:  for those schools who order their groceries through one of Food for Learnings food hubs (FreshCo in Belleville or Trenton Cold Storage in Trenton), your grant will be held by Food for Learning to cover the costs of your weekly grocery orders.
What can we do if our program runs out of money before the end of the year?
Food for Learning may provide Emergency Funding to a school that has used all sources of funding prior to the end of the school year.  Food for Learning is not able to provide 100% of any school’s program budget.  Before receiving emergency funding, a school will need to demonstrate how they have secured funds from other sources, to supplement what has been provided from Food for Learning.  The Emergency Funding request form can be found on the FORMS section.
What do we do with the money we raise at our school?

When a school receives a donation or has proceeds from a fundraising initiative:

  • Donation of $20 or more are eligible for a tax receipt.  These donations must flow through The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation.  Please have donors write cheque to The Learning Foundation; call 613-966-1170, ext. 62232 if they would like to make a donation by phone using a credit card; or make a donation online.  Donors can indicate that their donation is intended for a specific school and we will then forward the donation to that school.
  • Donations under $20; or if the donor does not require a tax receipt; or if you have proceeds from a fundraising initiative, these funds can be deposited into the school’s Food for Learning account.  Please remember to include these amounts as revenue when completing your monthly report in Webtracker.
How do we get the food to serve at our student nutrition programs?
If you receive a cash grant or grocery cards, you will be required to purchase your groceries at your local grocery store or possibly order through a food distributor.  In these cases, all receipts must be uploaded into Webtracker to verify how the funds have been spent.

If you order your groceries through Webtracker, you will pick up your food order from a food hub (FreshCo in Belleville or Trenton Cold Storage in Trenton).

Where do the funds come from that support our programs?

Food for Learning receives financial and in-kind support from many sources, which in turn are provided to schools within Hastings and Prince Edward counties to assist with the operations of their student nutrition programs.

Provincial partners who support student nutrition programs across the province:

  • Breakfast Club of Canada
  • Egg Farmers of Ontario
  • Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services
  • President’s Choice Children’s Charity
  • The Grocery Foundation

Regional support, for South East Ontario, is provided through our Lead Agency, The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation and includes:

  • Dupont
  • Kellogg’s Canada
  • MiniMax
  • Vision Transportation

Locally, numerous individuals, businesses, and organizations generously contribute to Food for Learning.  In addition, Food for Learning raises funds annually through three fundraising initiatives:  Take a Bite Out of Hunger, Feed the Meter, and The Student Benefit Auction.

On behalf of all student nutrition programs in Hastings and Prince Edward counties, we extend a heartfelt thank you to all donors, contributors and sponsors.  Your generosity allows Food for Learning to continue providing over a million meals and snacks each school year.

What if our program requires kitchen tools, appliances or other equipment?
If equipment is required to enhance your student nutrition program, you can apply to Food for Learning for funding to cover these costs.  These funds can be used for the following:

  • Major appliances (fridge, stove, dishwasher)
  • Appliance repairs (if appliance was originally purchased by Food for Learning and being used for a student nutrition program)
  • Kitchen tools/supplies (for example:  tea towels, mixing bowls, cutting boards, etc.)
  • Small kitchen appliances (for example:  toaster, kettle, grill)

Equipment requests are considered on a case by case basis.  Request forms can be found on the FORMS page.

Please note:  all equipment purchased remains the property of Food for Learning and must be purchased with the intent of supporting a school’s student nutrition program.

What roles should parents play in our school’s student nutrition program?

Parents play a very important role in the success of your student nutrition programs.  Parental involvement can take many forms:

  • Understanding the purpose and goals of student nutrition programs, and why students access the program; encourage your child to participate
  • When possible, provide a financial contribution to the student nutrition programs at your child’s school
  • Volunteer your time to assist with the student nutrition programs
  • Donate food to the program (please make sure all food donated meets the MCCSS Student Nutrition Program Nutrition Guidelines 2016)
  • Speak positively about the Food for Learning program at your child’s school with your friends and family

All schools should be inviting parents to become involved in their Food for Learning programs.

Are student nutrition programs free?
No, student nutrition programs are not free.  The majority of food provided through our student nutrition programs are purchased from grocery stores, food distributors or directly from food manufacturers.  Providing breakfast, snack and lunch programs requires a significant amount of funding.

Although students do not pay a fee for service to participate in a student nutrition program, all families should be invited to support your programs when possible.

How do we find volunteers to assist with our programs?
Finding volunteers in often a challenge for many schools.  It is important to spread the word that volunteers are needed throughout your community.  Resources and tools to assist you with volunteer recruitment are available under VOLUNTEER MANAGEMENT.

Although Food for Learning staff do not actively engage in volunteer recruitment, as this is the responsibility of each participating school, Food for Learning is listed on VIQ’s volunteer database and we have local radio ads inviting the public to volunteer.  When a potential volunteers is identified through one of these sources, Food for Learning will connect that individual with a school in their community.

What can we do to ensure that our community knows that we offer student nutrition programs?
Sharing the good work of student nutrition programs is vital to our sustainability.  Help us ensure that all families are aware that student nutrition programs are available in their community and that the community is aware that Food for Learning is a great place to direct donations.

Examples of how you can promote your programs and Food for Learning are:

  • Like Food for Learning’s Facebook page and share our posts
  • Frequently post photos and updates about your programs on the school’s Facebook page and tag Food for Learning
  • Include updates, photos, announcements and invitations to volunteer or contribute in each issue of your school newsletter
  • Proudly display the Student Nutrition Ontario window cling in  your school’s front entrance
  • Publically recognize your volunteers
  • Have an information table/display at school events promoting your student nutrition programs
How often do we have to offer a program to be eligible for funding?
To be eligible for funding from Food for Learning, your student nutrition programs must be available to all students in your school a minimum of three times per week from September through to June.  Food for Learning, however, encourages all schools to maximize the impact of their programs by offering them every school day (five times a week).
“I think it’s important to eat healthy food because it keeps you going throughout the day.” – Grade 6

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