Prior to the pandemic, about one million kids were using the food programs, but the organization projects the need has doubled to two million.
In Manitoba, the demand has also increased.
“The Breakfast Club has 61 programs in Manitoba it helps annually. During COVID it helped out over 131 organizations,” said co-founder of the Breakfast Club of Canada Judith Barry.
Seventy-two schools within the province on a wait list to get support with food programs, Barry added.
The Breakfast Clubs said it’s adapted programs to reach kids learning from home.
The programs are also doing single-portion meals and cold breakfast options to reduce the amount of handling the food needs.
Barry said the meals are an important part of the day for kids and set them up for success.
“You can see children are more attentive. You can see children that are visiting the main office for headaches and stomach aches decrease,” Barry said.
Barry said long-term solutions should include national school food programs to ensure supply meets demand.
Food banks are also seeing an increase in demand. Manitoba Harvest said it saw a 30 per cent increase in the spring when it came to people accessing food and the demand hasn’t dropped since.
More information about the breakfast programs can be found here.