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Hunger in Moose Jaw lunch program makes return for new school year

Close to 300 students a day will receive free lunches at peak of ongoing charitable effort
hunger in mj sign
Hunger in Moose Jaw. (photo by Larissa Kurz)
Hunger in Moose Jaw is once again hard at work making sure Moose Jaw’s youngsters have the nutrition they need to make the most of their school day.

The only difference this year is just how fast things have taken off.

The local charity organization is currently preparing 200 free lunches every day as part of their Child Nutrition Program (CNP), a number that is a bit surprising to executive director Sharla Sept.

“That’s something new for us, usually it comes in steady but it all came in at once this time,” Sept said on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s already taking off, so we’re busy, but we’re still getting lunches out to school every day.”

The program is simple at first glance — lunches are made, distributed to the schools and youngsters get a free and tasty meal. By the time things reach a peak level mid-year, Hunger in Moose Jaw could be sending 300-plus meals out the door every day.

But make no mistake, it takes a coordinated effort to pull things off so successfully and so regularly.

“We have a wonderful staff that assembles the lunches every day and we have volunteer drivers who deliver them to the schools on a daily basis,” Sept said. “We can’t do it without volunteer and staff support, that commitment to the cause makes it go.”

The program is most certainly well appreciated, as feedback from schools and parents alike shows. And for good reason, as proper nutrition has proven to help with the learning environment.

“Not being able to learn on a full stomach is a hard thing for anyone, let alone a child who is needing a bit extra,” Sept said.

To sign up for the program, all that’s needed is a parent or caregiver to contact the school their child attends, and Hunger in Moose Jaw will take care of the rest.

Of course, the whole thing comes with a price. Even with their efforts to keep the cost to around $1 per meal, things still add up quickly when you’re working on 300 lunches, 200 days of the year.

“And that’s why we’re so appreciative for the ‘I Bought A Lunch’ campaign we have every October,” Sept said, referring to their main annual fundraiser. The aim this year will be to raise $50,000 in 50 days, with all proceeds going back into the CNP.

All in all, Hunger in Moose Jaw remains appreciative of any support they receive, especially as life slowly returns to normal during the ongoing pandemic.

“We had to learn and adapt to different things at one point, but we’re back into the swing of things now,” Sept said. “The community has really come up behind us and supported us as usual. We had a lot of support even with how things were going and we’re hoping to see that continue.”

For the latest information on the Hunger in Moose Jaw and their activities, be sure to visit their website at www.facebook.com/hungerinmoosejaw/.