Feeding Hunger in Youth Across Saskatchewan
Across North America, millions of people face food insecurity each day - and this year alone, more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity due to the ongoing pandemic. This makes Mosaic's mission to help the world grow the food it needs more important than ever.
Children can’t learn when they are hungry which is why each year, Mosaic provides over $1 million in funding to food security and food education initiatives targeted in classrooms in the communities our employees call home. As part of Hunger Action Month, we reflect on some of the organizations we partner with that help ensure vulnerable youth across the province have access to the food they need each day.
Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge
Since 2006, we have hosted the Mosaic Extreme School Makeover Challenge in partnership with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.
Each year ten schools receive $10,000 to improve their school nutrition program. The Challenge helps to encourage grassroots nutrition-focused initiatives in Saskatchewan. It leaves lasting impressions on students as seen in the examples below from the 2019 Impact Report.
Salvation Army Haven of Hope School Programming
Through our partnership with the Salvation Army, we support the Mosaic Brown Bag Lunch and Mosaic Weekend Feeding Program. This programming helps ensure vulnerable children in our operating communities receive nutritious lunches throughout the school year.
“With the rising cost of living in Regina, more families are dependent on school-initiated breakfast, lunch, and snack programs,” explains Val Wiks, Community Ministries Coordinator. “Currently we are distributing 740 nutritious lunches and 80-weekend meals (2 per child) each week of the school year.”
When the global pandemic hit, Mosaic donated $50,000 to the City of Regina in support of this program along with REACH and Chili for Children, which helped ensure students continued to receive healthy meals despite not being in school during the pandemic. Learn more about the program here.
Regina And District Food Bank Garden Towers
The Agriculture Outreach Project at the Regina Food Bank includes a four-season greenhouse that grows fresh produce in garden towers. Food bank clients use the produce from the towers in cooking programs and share with partner agencies. As part of the greenhouse, there is an Urban Agriculture Outreach Program, which Mosaic sponsors, that sees garden towers sent to schools in Regina so students can actively learn where their food comes from.
Participating schools each receive a toolkit that includes a garden tower, grow lights, soil, seeds, red wiggler worms for composting along with other accessories needed to grow food in their classrooms all year long. Since our partnership began in 2016, 57 schools/classrooms have participated by having a garden tower onsite.
Chili for Children Bagged Lunch Program
For over 40 years, Chili for Children has served meals to vulnerable youth in Regina. The grassroots organization provides nearly 900 children with hot lunches daily, and 93,000 meals annually, at several schools in the city’s inner-city neighborhoods.
Our recent support will help the organization outfit their mobile concession trailer with a hot water system allowing them to serve lunches to more students, especially while working to minimize large groups and practice safe physical distancing. Learn more about our partnership here.
Since 2014, we have partnered with REACH to deliver accessible cooking classes and community kitchen programs. Through our support:
• 99% of the children and adults surveyed shared that they can prepare and cook a basic healthy meal because of the Mosaic funded program;
• Mosaic directly funded 227 after school children cooking classes at 33 schools and non-profits with 3,219 participants. This includes the children who participated in a family afterschool program at the mâmawêyatitân centre;
• 84 pre-school cooking programs at 11 different locations directly supported with Mosaic funding 692 pre-school children participated;
• 183 adult cooking classes and community kitchens funded by Mosaic with 1,492 participants.
“Mosaic’s impact on Regina and the surrounding community has been enormous as their funding for REACH programs provides at risk children and their families with healthy food and opportunities to learn cooking skills that would not otherwise be available to them,” shares Dana Folkersen, Executive Director at REACH.
Hunger in Moose Jaw
Since 1993, Hunger in Moose Jaw (HIMJ) has nurtured children and their families through nutrition programs. For over 10 years, we have supported them as they make over 300 daily meals, and over 70,000 each year, for students across the city through its signature Child Nutrition Program. Without HIMJ programming, many children would otherwise go hungry. Their support is critical to the city of Moose Jaw.
We are proud to support these incredible programs that create stronger and healthier youth who live in communities where we live and work. Follow along on our Mosaic in Canada Facebook page as we celebrate these, and many more, Hunger Heroes throughout September.