The Lunch Program With A Mission
Lunch Connection supports students, schools and families by providing low cost, subsidized lunches at several Saint John schools. Lunch Connection has been running, in different formats, since 1989. The program continuously adapts to the changing needs of communities and schools.
Lunch Connection currently provides lunches to 400+ students in Grades K-8 in 5 community schools, using a hub-kitchen model. Lunches are lovingly prepared at a central location by a committed group of volunteers and staff and then delivered to the schools.
Each school year we prepare upwards of 45,000 lunches. Of the 5 partnered schools, three receive significant subsidies from ICYM. Other schools are provided meals at cost. We intentionally do not charge schools or parents, fees to cover salaries, equipment or other expenses.
We are working to reduce any stigma and shame associated with food insecurity. Lunches are available to all students regardless of financial need. Schools reserve the right to charge families a small “capacity building” fee. This fee can cover the base cost of the meal, in whole or in part.
We make receiving lunches dignifying and fun for all students. We work to include healthy, kid-friendly food choices. We include special treats, notes and surprises in the lunch bags, and are working to introduce participants to new, healthy foods!
ICYM is committed to inclusivity. We ensure that students of all faiths receive equal quality and quantity of food, designed to meet dietary needs and restrictions. Currently, all our meals are halal and upon request, we offer meals for students with nutritional restrictions (gluten-free, dairy-free, etc…)
ICYM works to involve parents, community residents and key stakeholders at all levels of planning, preparation and program delivery. We value direct and open communication & collaboration with individual schools and with the school district.
Addressing Food insecurity
One of the pillars at Inner City Youth Ministry (ICYM) is food security. We are working to address food insecurity among children, youth and families in Saint John.
Food insecurity is the inability to acquire or consume an adequate diet quality or sufficient quantity of food in socially acceptable ways, or the uncertainty that one will be able to do so. Household food insecurity is often linked with the household’s financial ability to access adequate food.
Poverty rates, and specifically child poverty rates, are as high as 47% in the Saint John neighbourhoods where ICYM implements our programming. Food insecurity has real and lasting impacts on the health, wellbeing and educational success of youth. Access to healthy, low-cost meals is one way to support the health and educational success of children.
Become a Supporter
Are you interested in supporting our work, and being involved in Lunch Connection? Lunch Connection is only possible because of the generosity of our community- generosity of time, talent and resources.
We are looking for volunteers willing to assist in purchasing and preparation of the lunches. Our volunteers look forward to working with a fun, tight-knit group and to knowing they are making a real difference in the lives of children throughout the community. Our volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and interests and we work to find roles suited to the interest, capacities and schedules of each volunteer.
You can also support Lunch Connection, and our other programming, through monetary donations and advocacy, and by increasing awareness about ICYM programs within your own networks.