Friday, September 22, 2023

Deprived students: empty stomach at the end of the school year


As more and more families struggle to feed themselves in the face of exploding grocery basket prices, food aid for students from poor backgrounds only begins in October and ends at the beginning of June, before ending the classes. ..

It is common to see school children hanging around with an almost empty lunch box. One in five children experiences food insecurity in Quebec, the Institute for Socioeconomic Research and Information (IRIS) revealed just a few days ago.

However, students in need at the Montreal School Service Center will have to wait until October 2 to receive the $1 lunch, which is more than a month after the start of the school year. And the food support program ends on June 7, 2024, before the end of classes, specifies the letter sent to parents.

“The child does not start to feel hunger in October. It’s a must from day one to day one! And it is a complete aberration to withdraw food aid at the most important time of the year, which is exam time, lamented liberal MP Marwah Rizqy.

According to him, in order to avoid delays in the start of the school year, food aid should be renewed “practically automatically” from one year to the next. There is a high chance that a child benefiting from this support in a disadvantaged school in June will be in the same situation when returning to class in August, insisted the elected official. The school can only “revalidate” the information at the beginning of the school year.

The member of Saint-Laurent recalled that school registration takes place in February. We should take advantage of this opportunity to target students who qualify for food assistance, he believes.

It is family income that determines the criteria for program access. For a family of two including one parent and one child, the eligible net annual income is $29,632. For a family of six, the eligible net annual income is $58,133. The parents’ contribution is set at $1 per day for each child.

Ancient rules

But this help is only offered to 20% of schools in the poorest areas. A child in need who attends an establishment that is not considered disadvantaged according to the socioeconomic background index does not have access to it.

And the deprivation rating calculated by the Ministry of Education, which allows schools to have access to additional resources, is based in particular on the level of the mother’s diploma.

According to Marwah Rizqy, these rules are outdated. “A mother can have a doctor in her country and be a part-time teacher in Quebec!” lined up with the selected.

No child is left behind, assures CSSDM

At the Montreal School Services Center, it was specified that four other food support programs are offered in addition to $1 meals and ensuring “no child is left behind” starting at the start of the school year.

“Although the set-up requires some time to allow parents to register and organize the service, it is important to understand that the school leaves no child behind. The management and those involved know the poor families with needs and the school will be able to support them in an individual way,” argued the head of media relations, Alain Perron.

He added that in elementary school, the examination period is usually at the end of May and the beginning of June. “For secondary school, schools are reorganizing the timetables of exam sessions that take place in the morning.”

Food support program for students in poor schools at the Montreal School Service Center 2023-2024 providing access to food at $1 per day per child

Eligibility criteria:

Family size (parents-children) Net annual income

2 people $29,632

3 people $36,898

4 people $40,033

5 people $52,418

6 people $58,133

7 people and more $63,848

Nation World News Desk
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