Proper nutrition plays a central part in learning, yet 1 in 8 households in Canada struggle to access nutritious food.

When Richmond Jewish Day School needed support with their school lunch program after a contract with a former caterer ended, the Kehila Society of Richmond approached JFS to create a food program that benefits all families, regardless of income.

With start up funds provided by Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, JFS delivers weekly hot meals to RJDS at no cost to the students or their families. These meals are healthy, plant-based, and available to all students. In addition, a community fridge and pantry program are in operation. The fridge and pantry cupboard are kept stocked by JFS, the Kehila Society of Richmond and Richmond Food Bank. Students and their families can access healthy snacks, dry goods, fresh produce and meals during school hours.

“The students at Richmond Jewish Day School have absolutely loved the weekly hot lunches sponsored through JFS and the Kehila Society,” says Sabrina Bhojani, Principal, Richmond Jewish Day School. “The research is clear — good nutrition helps our children to focus, concentrate and self-regulate, which in turn results in improved learning and student performance. Thank you JFS and Kehila, in helping to ensure our RJDS students have healthy bodies and healthy minds!”

Universal school meal programs play an important role in creating a sustainable future for our children and families. This multi-agency initiative is an exciting example of what can happen when community partners work together to strengthen our community.

“All students deserve access to healthy, safe, nutritious, and easily accessible food,” says Ilana Labow, JFS Director of Food Security. “We are inspired by this vision and are committed to helping uplift students’ lives through delicious, good food. We look forward to nourishing this program together and watching it thrive and grow.”