News Release
December 30, 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a profound impact on the lives of Torontonians. With many students attending school remotely due to COVID-19, the Toronto Board of Health and the City of Toronto are making Toronto Public Health’s Student Nutrition Program accessible to kids learning at home in 2021.


Research shows that when students eat healthy meals at school, they have better focus and stronger academic success. Student nutrition programs offer nutritious meals and snacks to students to give them the nutrients and energy they need to be ready to learn. Since dietary behaviours established in childhood and adolescence can continue into adulthood, improving breakfast habits among students can also help prevent childhood and adult obesity and the early onset of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.


Before the pandemic, many vulnerable children and youth received a daily nutritious meal at school through student nutrition programs. The City of Toronto is the largest funder of student nutrition programs supported by Toronto Public Health – this year alone we budgeted over $16 million for student nutrition. These meal and snack programs mainly operate in Toronto public schools across 609 locations and provide meals to more than 209,420 students. Program funds can now be used to support the families in need with remote student learners who are attending a school with a student nutrition program.


Supports can include:

  • Stocking pantries;
  • Extending grab-and-go programs; and
  • Reinitiating Food for Kids, a program that distributes grocery food gift cards.


Learn more about the City’s student nutrition programs.




“This is one more way the City of Toronto is working to do everything we can as a municipal government to adapt to this crisis in real-time to help people who need it most. I want to thank the Board of Health and Toronto City Council for moving to support students who are learning remotely.”
– Toronto Mayor John Tory


“No student in our city should have to start the school day hungry. That’s why we have Student Nutrition Programs that provide children and young people in need with a healthy and nutritious meal at school. But the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to continually reimagine and adapt many of our programs and initiatives. Extending the Student Nutrition Program to families with children who are learning remotely will help to support families and communities disproportionately impacted by this virus, as another element of our COVID-19 Equity Action Plan.”

– Councillor Joe Cressy (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), Chair, Toronto Board of Health


“Student Nutrition Programs are a cost effective way to promote health and learning among children and youth.  Providing the flexibility for student nutrition programs to offer support remotely during this challenging time can help address local needs and reduce the impact of the pandemic on students and their learning.”

– Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health


Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Toronto Public Health Media Relations