Taber women’s shelter making lunches for students working online

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While schools have the technology to teach from home, in-school meal programs can’t continue remotely. As Erik Bay reports, a Taber organization is filling that void – May 12, 2021

Bagged, sealed and ready to eat.

The Safe Haven Women’s Shelter Society is making free lunches for Taber, Alta., students moving back to online learning.

With school nutrition programs hitting pause as students learn from home, Safe Haven executive director Catherine Champagne says there is a big demand.

Read more: Lethbridge schools prepare for another transition back to learning at home

“We’ve already increased by 10 more participants from Monday’s delivery,” Champagne said.

“Monday’s delivery had about 82 lunches total and today we’re at least at 100 deliveries.”

Two meals are delivered each Monday and Wednesday, covering four days of lunches.

One of Safe Haven’s deliveries is at Taber Central School. The school’s nutrition program can’t reach students at home and principal David LeGrandeur says it fills a gap that technology can’t cover.

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“Just having some extra lunches on hand, we certainly supplement those at school anyways, and it’s just nice to have an extra hand.”

Read more: Southern Alberta school districts react to COVID-19 rapid testing expansion

During province-wide restrictions last spring, Safe Haven built care packages for its existing children and youth outreach clients, but the shelter felt it was time to expand the free meal program.

“There’s kids out there who might not reach out or might not know and parents are really struggling,” Champagne said. “People are over a year into the pandemic so you get used to one way of doing things and things get switched up.”

Read more: Alberta considering COVID-19 vaccine clinics in schools: Kenney

The program is only on its third day, but LeGrandeur is hearing five-star reviews from students.

“One of our boys that’s popping in for some extra support at school, he talked about the wrap that he had on the first day and how it was packed full of vegetables,” LeGrandeur said.

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Safe Haven is preparing lunches until students return to in-person learning.

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