Healthy lunch program an opportunity to support families in need

No child should ever have to go hungry. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many kids in B.C. “Twenty per cent of kids in B.C. live in poverty and most of those go to school hungry,” says Mahdi Sahebnasagh, founding owner of Kindermeals. “Teachers are struggling with them because they can’t focus,” he explains.

Sahebnasagh opened Kindermeals, a private lunch program based in Vancouver and servicing the Lower Mainland, in September 2017. The company provides healthful, nutritious and filling lunches, catered by The Caterer in Burnaby, to children in daycares and schools throughout the Lower Mainland.

Parents can place orders for such dishes as chili with cornbread muffin or falafel with a side salad through the company’s website, and the hot meals will be delivered straight to the child’s daycare or school. Sahebnasagh currently has 50 children signed up for the program, though most are from more affluent families on Vancouver’s West Side, he admits. He hopes that one day the program will be used by parents and children from all income levels and walks of life.

In the meantime, Kindermeals has a program that encourages wealthier families to support children whose parents can’t afford to participate in the Kindermeals program. Each month, they can add a $5 to their monthly fee which will help feed a child from a low-income family.  

The platform also allows parents from low-income families to indicate their household income on their profile, “and we can support them,” Sahebnasagh says.

Sahebnasagh is also hoping to alleviate the resources schools allocate to Hot Lunch programs. “What we’re looking to do is remove the hassle and logistical issues for schools,” Sahebnasagh says. While most hot lunch programs require three parent volunteers to support them, Kindermeals requires only one. This because most hot lunch programs offer five to six options every day, while Kindermeals offers only one, albeit a healthy and nutritious one.

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