The Alberta government is spending $3.5 million on a school nutrition pilot project that aims to feed hungry students healthy meals.
The money will go to 14 school boards that will determine which of 4,500 needy children will get the food.
A government spokesman says the program could be expanded to $10 million next year and $20 million in 2018.
Premier Rachel Notley says access to a daily nutritious meal can help children’s grades and prepare them for a successful future.
The school boards involved are based in Calgary, Edmonton, High Prairie, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, St. Paul, Wetaskiwin, Claresholm, Canmore, Peace River, northern Alberta and the Cardston-Warner region.
Alberta Education says the program is aimed at students with the greatest need and the money for the first year of the program will come from the department’s existing budget.
“This pilot program will provide students with access to healthy food choices, supporting our efforts to positively influence students’ health and well-being so they can reach their full potential,” Cheryl Low, chairwoman of the Calgary Catholic School District said Monday in a release.