With schools closed until at least September, Hunger in Moose Jaw is pursuing new ways to continue to feed young minds and ensure students have the supplies they need.
The non-profit organization decided to operate its child nutrition program a little differently during the week of March 23 to 27. It elected to deliver lunch-making supplies on March 25 and March 27 to families registered in the program. Before schools closed, there were 340 kids using the program regularly.
“We are all in the midst of a crisis right now and we still need to feed our children, whether we’re there at school or not,” Sharla Sept, executive director of Hunger in Moose Jaw, said.
The organization is providing supplies to help supplement lunches a week at a time, she continued. This means students will receive the basics, such as fruits, vegetables, a loaf of bread and meat.
While these items are expected to help families get through the week, Hunger in Moose Jaw knows it will have to find a different way next week and in the short-term to continue to feed families.
“… This is a whole new way of looking at things and (this is) a program that’s been running for 20-plus years and we’ve had to change it within a matter of four or five days,” Sept remarked. “There’s a challenge there. That presents the challenge.”
Using social media and word of mouth, the organization asked its families to call the office at 306-692-1916 or send a private Facebook message and provide the child’s full name, the school he or she attends, and their address.
Hunger in Moose Jaw planned to deliver lunches by March 25 and asked families to confirm before 5 p.m. the day before. Any requests received after that would be delivered on Friday.
To comply with the order to remain physical distant from others, the organization’s staff plan to ring the door bell or knock and then leave the bags of food at the door. If families are not home during drop-off times, employees will still leave the bags at the door since they can deliver only to the address provided.
There has been a steady uptake by registered families in accessing the nutrition program in this way, said Sept. She expected that number to grow during the coming weeks.
Sept encourages families to call the office number; even though employees are working from home, messages are checked every day.
“We’re taking longer to get our ducks in order,” she added. “We are doing what we can.”
Hunger in Moose Jaw can be reached at 306-692-1916, via Facebook, or by visiting hungerinmoosejaw.org.