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NOW Volunteers

NOW (Nutrition On Weekends) Program


The Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) Kenora project, facilitated by the Rotary Club of Kenora, is a community partnership which aims to increase food availability and nutrition for those students identified as having insufficient access to healthy foods during weekends and school holidays when school nutrition programs are not available.
The NOW Kenora program has grown from a pilot program in partnership with one local school for 17 students over the final 15 weeks of the 2018-19 school year to more than 275 students (18% of all elementary school students) in all eight elementary schools in the city accessing the program in 2019-2020. More recently, it has morphed into an emergency food provider during the COVID-19 crisis to fill the void left by closed school nutrition programs.

The Rotary Club has engaged individuals, businesses and other organizations in funding and carrying out the work of this community program. There is a shared belief every child should be able to access an adequate amount of healthy food to thrive and achieve their potential as research shows hunger greatly impacts a child’s learning performance and behaviour in school. 

On regular weekends, each child receives two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks for a weekend (three on long weekends). The challenge is to provide as healthy a food choice as possible, accessible (easy to open for example) and at reasonable cost. During the closure of schools for the coronavirus pandemic, the weekly individual bags have been beefed up to cover 4-5 days and there has been occasional family bags of pantry supplies provided for each family.