St. Joseph’s School is one of several Ontario schools struggling to keep up with the number of students who come to them for food aid.
Its food bank was the largest in Ontario in September.
But it’s not alone.
About a third of the schools in Ontario’s schools system are struggling to feed their students.
“Our food bank program is very robust,” said Karen Souto, the school’s food bank director.
“It’s a very large program.”
St. Joe’s has a waiting list of more than 100 students who can’t get food assistance and need a food voucher to get into classes.
“We’re really trying to do everything we can to keep people going,” said Soutom.
“But we’ve been really overwhelmed.”
The food bank has a large waiting list.
The Ontario government has been increasing funding to schools.
But the money for school food aid is in short supply.
The Ontario government wants to make the most of the extra cash.
It’s also increasing food stamps by an average of 3 per cent a year.
The government says the money will go towards expanding the food bank.
It’s not enough to keep the schools feeding their students, though.
St. Mary’s has lost its food bank for two weeks.
The school is also struggling to provide supplies for the food it needs to keep feeding the students.
Students and their parents can’t come to the school for lunch.
Souto said she doesn’t know how many students are going hungry, but she does know there’s not much she can do.
“That’s the reality of it,” she said.
“We’re trying to provide food for the students and the staff.”
The school doesn’t have enough cash to cover its needs, so they’re turning to volunteers to help.
Students who can afford to buy food from the food pantry, are being encouraged to.
“What I have seen is a very small number of people who are willing to help us out,” said Stephanie O’Sullivan, one of the food-handlers.
Some students have brought in food from their parents, who are also students.
But many more are bringing in food themselves.
“A lot of the students have family members that are not coming to the schools because they’re busy with their own families,” said O’Sullivan.
Sophomore Anna Wurth, who’s from Windsor, is helping out.
She’s brought in her own food from her parents.
She said she’s been doing this for about six months now.
“I’ve been feeding my students and they’ve been great,” she told CBC News.
“They’re really, really hungry.
And I just want to make sure they’re getting a little bit of food.”
But it’s the students who are the biggest help, Wurtha said.
“It’s amazing to me that they’re doing this.
They’re the most caring, they’re the best,” she added.”
You see it on TV all the time.
And that’s what we need the most.”
The Ontario Ministry of Education says it’s working to make food aid available more quickly.
“The Ministry is working with other partners, including local food banks, to increase the number and availability of food assistance,” said spokesperson Kristin MacPherson in an email.
“In Ontario, more than 50 per cent of students have access to free or reduced-price food and, for students who cannot afford to pay, the Ministry is also providing cash grants to students who may need financial support.”