Every day in 258 schools and community centres across Newfoundland and Labrador, over 31,000 healthy meals are provided to children of all ages through the Kids Eat Smart Program and their 6,100 volunteers.

On March 16, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools across the province closed their doors – leaving many youth without access to healthy meals. As a result of school closures, Kids Eat Smart received many urgent calls and emails from concerned donors, community leaders and the school community about children who relied on the meals provided by Kids Eat Smart.

The staff and volunteers at Kids Eat Smart knew they had to do something. Like many other not-for-profits during COVID-19, they had to act quickly to find a new way to continue to offer their much needed services to those that avail of them. With the quick action of the team at Kids Eat Smart, their volunteers and donors, the COVID-19 Food 4 Kids Campaign was launched!

The Kids Eat Smart Foundation quickly mobilized and put a call out to the community to help pull together funds to get food hampers to families in need. Something that the Kids Eat Smart says was embraced by local businesses and long-time supporters of the Foundation.

“Organizations such as Ocean Choice stepped up when families in Newfoundland and Labrador needed it the most – something that all of us at Kids Eat Smart are extremely grateful for,” said Celina Stoyles, Executive Director, Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL. “The response our volunteers received from families when they delivered the food hampers was humbling. Children waved from windows, and one little guy excitedly followed us on his bike, with the biggest smile ever.”

Through the generous donations from many organizations, Kids Eat Smart was able to provide 2,200 food hampers in April, May and June and in July and August, distributed over $130,000 in funding to community centres to buy food to stock their pantries for children and families over the summer months.

“Our employees across the province are strong supporters of Kids Eat Smart – from volunteering with the foundation to providing monetary donations,” said Blaine Sullivan, Ocean Choice. “When we saw that Kids Eat Smart was looking for support for their COVID-19 Food 4 Kids Campaign, there was no question that we wanted to help those in need.”