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Parking is free but groceries are not

Food for Learning’s Feed The Meter campaign has returned for another holiday season to raise much needed funds for student nutrition programs in Hastings and Prince Edward counties.

“Parking may be free in local downtowns this holiday season in Picton, Trenton and Belleville, but the cost of groceries for student nutrition programs continues to increase,” said Kellie Brace, Food for Learning Coordinator.

Again this year, for the month of December, parking is free in Picton, Trenton and Belleville but all funds collected in meters will be donated to support student nutrition Food for Learning programs in schools.

Stating Prince Edward County’s Feed the Meter contribution was a “small bowl of cereal” compared to the “big bowl of oatmeal” neighbouring communities provided, Mayor Robert Quaiff led council to increase support for this year’s campaign.

Due to construction this year, there are no meters on Main Street. Just 38 of 129 downtown meters are posted with the Feed the Meter campaign signs this year as the others are not yet in place on Main Street.

Mayor Quaiff asked council to up the original motion to contribute $1,000 from the 2016 Community Grants program to $2,500 to compensate for the anticipated shortfall from parking meter revenue. There was extra money in that fund returned by a group unable to use the funding.

“More than 11 per cent of the households in Hastings and Prince Edward counties are food insecure and we have one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the province of Ontario,” said Brace. “This means that people have difficulty obtaining sufficient, nutritious, personally acceptable food.”

Brace says Food for Learning programs are important because research shows that children and youth who receive regular healthy meals and snacks at school are more alert, pay more attention, do better in school, and are healthier and more cooperative and disciplined.

“When a student arrives at school hungry and participates in a student nutrition program, they will maximize their learning potential through the school day. We know that students in our area arrive hungry for a variety of reasons – poverty, rushed mornings, long bus rides, etc. Regardless of the reason, we aim to minimize the hunger faced by children and youth in our community and the support received through the Feed the Meter campaign makes this possible.”

In the 2015-2016 school year, Food for Learning provided 1,065,255 meals and snacks to 15,559 individual students through a student nutrition program.

“We anticipate these numbers will continue to grow this school year. As one local Grade 8 student stated, ‘I love eating at school because when I am hungry I can’t learn. I know I can focus on learning when I have breakfast. Many students in our school go to Food for Learning and they feel the same way.’ ”

All proceeds of the Feed the Meter campaign will be returned to the schools in the communities where the funds were raised and will be used to purchase groceries for the various programs.

This year’s goal for the Feed the Meter campaign is $50,000. Feed the Meter when visiting downtown Belleville, Picton, or Trenton this holiday season or, your donation can be mailed or delivered to:
Food for Learning
c/o The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation
156 Ann Street
Belleville, ON K8N 3L3
(make cheques payable to The Hastings and Prince Edward Learning Foundation)

The Feed the Meter campaign is supported through the generous contributions from campaign sponsors. In Prince Edward County, sponsors are: The Prince Edward Federation of Agriculture, Prinzen Ford and the Rotary Club of Picton.

Filed Under: Local News

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