It’s back-to-school time and many low-income families are dealing with the added financial burden of school lunches, new clothes and school supplies. With this in mind, The Salvation Army’s Healthy Lunchbox program in Parry Sound, Ont., is giving struggling parents one less thing to worry about.
“When we found out a lot of kids in the Parry Sound area were going to school without lunch we developed the Healthy Lunchbox program,” says Justin Gleadall. “It’s a valuable resource for low-income families and gives hungry kids the fuel they need to succeed in school.”
The Healthy Lunchbox is a food program where parents pay a small fee to receive a month’s worth of nutritious school lunch snacks for their children at a fraction of the cost of what they would pay at a grocery store. The lunchboxes are made up of food items such as yogurt, cheese and crackers, whole wheat bread, fresh fruit and vegetables.
“The program is not only cost-effective and healthy, it is designed to bring dignity to both parents and students,” says Gleadall.
The Healthy Lunchbox program also gives The Salvation Army opportunity to talk with clients about budgeting and nutrition. “We want to help alleviate some stress and anxiety,” says Gleadall.
Each month, 25 families are benefitting from the Healthy Lunchbox program.
“We rely heavily on the generosity of our donors,” says Gleadall. “Right now we have a waiting list of people who want to participate in the program. It’s just a matter of funding.”
The Salvation Army began its work in Parry Sound in 1887 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the West Parry Sound District.