Stone Soup week to help feed kids
Annual fundraiser for school meal and snack programs running this week
It can sometimes take a community to feed a child.
The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba is currently holding its 11th annual Stone Soup fundraiser, which is being held to raise funds and awareness for school meal and snack programs across the province.
This year, Stone Soup Week is running until March 19. Participating restaurants from across the province have created signature soups for the occasion, which are being sold during the week, and will be donating $1 from every sale to the council.
At press time, the list of participating restaurants coming up with mouth-watering creations continued to grow. Eateries on the east side of the city include Fionn MacCool’s (Guinness beer and cheddar soup) and Marion Street Eatery (TBD), and The Oakwood (curried butternut squash) and the Park Café in Assiniboine Park (vegan coconut carrot) on the west side.
Mae Santos, a community dietitian with the nutrition council, said the Stone Soup fundraiser is an important event because it not only serves as a fundraiser and builds awareness about the council’s programs, but it’s also a way to bring the community together — not least because the need for school meal programs continues to grow.
“It’s really nice that people can go to a restaurant in their own town or city and foster conversations and relationships,” Santos said, noting the nutrition council supports more than 300 meal programs and approximately 40,000 students across Manitoba.
“The need for the programs continues to increase, and there are lots of new schools on board this year. We have quite a few new schools on our waitlist this year.”
Santos said one of the many rewarding things about being able to offer in-school food programs is when students become involved as volunteers.
“It’s hands-on learning, and we find lots of students develop a sense of belonging and identity by helping out with these programs,” she said, adding programs can range from breakfast to lunch to snack programs, or a combination of all three depending on the capacity of the school and the resources available.
“There are many reasons why a child might come to school hungry. Aside from rising food costs, some kids start their days really early, so by the time school starts at nine o’clock, they’re probably hungry.”
“It’s really nice to do on-site visits, and when you see the little Grade 1 students helping make chili and they’re so proud and they say, ‘I helped make that,’” Santos added.
Another way to contribute to the fundraising cause is to hold a group or staff lunch, and there is also a 60/40 Stone Soup raffle, which will run until March 17 (the draw will be 11 a.m. that day). Tickets cost $5 for one, $10 for three, $20 for 10, and $50 for 50.
Restaurant and soup information will continue be to updated, so go online at childnutritioncouncil.com for more information.
Simon Fuller is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. Email him at email@example.com or call him at 204-697-7111.