As students enjoy the last weekend of summer break, Nourish Cowichan is gearing up for another busy year of providing school snacks and meals to ensure all students have proper nutrition to do well at their lessons.
Nourish Cowichan co-founder Fatima da Silva says they will not know just how great the need is until after classes are underway and more schools begin to contact them.
However, da Silva says based on the calls and information they already have, the number of daily meals and snacks could be as high as 1,500 this year.
One critical need is for volunteers, something she calls their “biggest emergency right now because of the number of meals we’re going to have to prepare.”
da Silva says the budget will likely be over one-million dollars for the coming year because of the increased need, and the higher prices for supplies.
As an example of the rising costs Nourish Cowichan faces, she says a spice they use has just doubled in price and they’re now working on changing their menu to maintain the quality of the meals rather than add to the cost.
“When you think a single spice that we used to buy, that was 25-kilograms, used to cost about $230, we just got the notification now that the same spice is going to cost $480.”
She says they are relying on donations and grants at this time because they have not had time to do fundraisers, which da Silva says they “miss quite a bit” because of the energy created.
During the last school year, Nourish Cowichan provided meals for about 1.300 students in the Cowichan Valley School District each day.