This article was published in March 2021 and may be outdated.
For eight years, Manitoba Hydro employees and downtown Winnipeggers have been essential to the success of the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba’s (CNCM) Stone Soup event.
While the pandemic has thrown a fly into the soup so to speak, we are hopeful that our tradition of helping children in need continues.
The very real need
For most of us, it’s hard to imagine not having access to food when we are really hungry. And yet, there are too many kids in Manitoba who experience this.
Since 2001, the CNCM has supported schools across the province by providing grants and nutrition education for school meal programs. Last year, the organization supported 287 school nutrition programs in Manitoba. The programs provided 34,207 students from kindergarten to grade 12 with consistent, healthy meals and snacks during the school day.
“We see how totally invested school staff are in creating nurturing environments for students by implementing a meal or snack program. But as the school application numbers increase, our grants are unable to keep pace and with the accompanying rise in food costs, and providing ongoing nutritious food to students becomes a real challenge,” said Viola Prowse, former executive director and current board member for the council.
Positive long-term impact
“The goal of the Child Nutrition Council is not just to get something into their stomachs, but rather nutritious food that will have a positive immediate and long-term impact on that child’s health,” said Viola. “And Manitoba Hydro and its employees have been helping us provide that for Manitoba’s children in need for several years now.”
Pandemic increased the need
When the pandemic hit, the council adapted to ensure the neediest children were supported with nutritious foods in their homes. Schools have been working hard to continue their nutrition programming; however, they face many challenges due to increased need, increased food and packaging costs and limited staff and volunteer capacity.
And the pandemic also meant the council’s fundraiser, Stone Soup, which they rely heavily on, was no longer able to proceed.
For the last eight years, the popular soup tasting event – where chefs would donate their efforts and their soup – was held in Manitoba Hydro Place.
“Manitoba Hydro graciously allowed us to use their space,” said Viola. “It’s a real hub in downtown Winnipeg and their employees and the public filled the gallery in support of the cause.”
The pot is already growing — get your ticket now!
Instead of soup tasting this year, a 60/40 on-line raffle is the main fundraising event.
The virtual raffle invites Manitobans to help fill the pot in support of school meal programs for a chance to fill their wallet. The amount collected will be divided 60 percent for the cause and 40 percent for the winner.
Check out the pot size and purchase tickets until March 26. The lucky ticket will be drawn on March 26.
All proceeds of the raffle and the donations will go directly to help fund meal and snack programs in Manitoba schools; however, if you’d rather, you can also simply donate to support healthy food in schools.
Ensuring all students have equal opportunity to learn
“It’s unfortunate that we are not able to connect with our supporters in-person this year, however, we are excited to move our fundraiser online,” said Wendy Bloomfield, CNCM chairperson. “This school year already poses so many challenges for schools and students. Raising funds through our Stone Soup event can ensure that being hungry at school isn’t something Manitoba children need to worry about too.”
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