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Being the parent to 4 school-age children, I am far more aware this year than I have been in years passed about the cost of feeding my household. Rather than trying to experiment with different meals, I am more focused on providing meals that are not going to go to waste and how to make that dollar stretch at the store. I knew I wasn’t alone, but when I read some recent statistics about food insecurity and children in Canada and more specifically Ontario it was heart breaking to say the least.

With inflation and rising food prices, food insecurity is touching the lives of many Ontarians, including 1 in 5 children.  Latest estimates show that food insecurity impacts 16% of households in Ontario, a staggering 2.3M people in our province can’t afford nutritious food on a regular basis.

I work in an organization, Wee Watch that is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary of delivering licensed home childcare in Ontario.  Over those 40 years our providers have cared for thousands of children, preparing nutritious snacks and meals while they are in care. A large component of our educational program includes cooking as a learning activity as kids love measuring, counting and eating what they make.  Over the years the kids in our care have planted gardens and eaten what they’ve grown, learned about foods from countries around the world.  In fact, this year our annual educational program, “Together Wee Can” is Adventures in culture and cuisine!  Children are learning about the foods and cultures of 12 countries and having a blast learning and trying new foods.  Its difficult to think about the sheer number of children that don’t have access to basic needs like a regular healthy meal.

So, when our organization was thinking about how to celebrate our 40th anniversary, we thought about the positive impact we have had on so many families, and how grateful we are for the support of the communities we operate in, and we decided to do something to give back.  The operators of our 44 childcare agencies collectively donated a generous $10,000 to Food4Kids, an amazing charity that provides healthy food for kids with limited or no access to food on weekends and during the summer months.

At Wee Watch and Food4Kids, we both believe every child should have access to nutritious food every day.  Studies have shown that childhood hunger negatively impacts learning, socializing among peers and the mental and physical health of children.  Food4Kids volunteers pack healthy food and deliver them to schools weekly, discreetly tucking the food into backpacks to ensure that the children are not being singled out.  Preparing and distributing food to more than 3,900 children 52 weeks a year at 269 local schools, Food4kids has a big impact in a number of communities across Ontario.

We are so grateful to businesses like Wee Watch who support our children to ensure no child goes hungry in our community. Truly when they say it takes a village we know first hand that it really does!”  ~ Gayle Kabbash, Executive Director Food4kids Ontario

If you’d like to join us in contributing to this worthy cause, please visit Food4Kids Ontario to donate.