How It Works
Meal Programs in Schools
Any publicly funded school in Ontario can opt to become a partner with its local Student Nutrition Program provider. The Food Sharing Project serves the region of Kingston, Frontenac County, and Lennox and Addington County. All schools in this region can partner with The Food Sharing Project to access nutritious food for their school. Schools agree to meet the conditions of the Ontario Student Nutrition Program and deliver a meal or hearty snack program in their schools that is accessible to all students and serves food that meets set nutritional guidelines, and is delivered in accordance with local Safe Food Handling.
Typically, a staff member at the school acts as the Coordinator of their Student Nutrition Program, and is responsible for ordering food, tracking expenses, and getting the food to the students in their school through a delivery model that the school chooses. Sometimes, parent volunteers and student volunteers are involved in the meal or snack program. Usually, schools offer one of the following three meal program delivery models:
Classroom bin – a bin and/or cooler is provided in each classroom and is filled daily (sometimes more than once a day) with a selection of healthy foods from each food group – vegetables and fruit, whole grains, and protein foods – and students in the classroom access the bin when they are hungry.
Grab and Go – healthy food options from all three food groups are placed in a central location or locations in the school and students can take food items as they need when they are hungry.
Sit down meal – if a school has the capacity and resources, it can offer a sit down meal, with food that is prepared. This can include hot breakfast programs, hot lunch programs, or other preared food items, like bagels and cheese, vegetables and dip, and so on.
Getting Food to Schools
The Food Sharing Project sources healthy food items that meet nutritional guidelines, and prepares an order form from which schools can select food. Eligible schools place orders through an online system each week. Staff at The Food Sharing Project collate the orders and purchase food from local suppliers, in bulk at considerable savings. This includes fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grain products, dairy, eggs, and more. Currently, schools place their orders weekly by Monday and The Food Sharing Project places orders with its suppliers on Tuesday. Food shipments are received later that week and stored in our warehouse and large refrigerated cooler.
The Food Sharing Project receives weekly orders from over 87 schools across the region. The typically weekly orders add up to over $10,000 in value, and have a volume of about 6 tons. This food is packed one week after the order deadline, the following Monday.
The Food Sharing Project also delivers food to its schools, using its own vans and drivers, with some food delivered through the Limestone District School Board courier. Because of the quantity of food and number of schools across a large geographic orders, food is delivered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The Program is reliant on volunteers to help pack, deliver and prepare and serve the food, for any school that wishes to run a program. Coordinators in each school are dedicated volunteers who ensure that the appropriate supplies are ordered, received and prepared each day. These volunteers can be teachers, EAs or parents or other community volunteers. Students can even play an important role, to receive the food when it arrives at schools and with oversight, to help prepare or serve some of it.
The Food Sharing Project relies on volunteers to package each individual school order. Each week, more than 300 boxes of custom orders are filled.
As a partner of the Ontario Student Nutrition Program, The Food Sharing Project receives significant funding from the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, but also receives funds from national foundations, local funding agencies, and many generous donors. Please visit our Fundraising page to learn more about our funders, and how you can support The Food Sharing Project.