Local restaurants are joining in on a community cause to provide schools with healthy food for their meal and snack programs.

The Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba (CNCM) is hosting its annual Stone Soup fundraising event from March 13-19.

"We are excited to once again launch our Stone Soup event that raises much-needed funds to support the health, well-being and education of Manitoba students," says CNCM chairperson Wendy Bloomfield. "We are thankful that restaurants are once again supporting our province-wide event!"

The kick-off media event was held at Technical Vocational High School this morning in partnership with CNCM.

For the rest of the week, registered restaurants promote a signature soup and donate $1 from each bowl sold to CNCM. To make participation easy for customers, there is an interactive map and voting page.

The public is invited to visit these restaurants from all across the province and cast a vote for their favourite soup, and the restaurant with the most votes will win a region-based Best Soup award.

"School programs funded by CNCM continue to struggle with rising food costs, rising student numbers and limited staff capacity," says Bloomfield. "Funds raised from this event will stay in Manitoba to directly support school meal and snack programs."

As of today, the CNCM supports over 300 school meal and snack programs across the province, which oversee that more than 40,000 children from kindergarten to grade 12 have access to healthy and nutritious foods.

"Despite our ongoing efforts to provide programs with an increase in funding, our growing waitlist currently has over 20 schools, who are in need of funding to support their program," says Bloomfield. "Seeing the way the community comes together during the Stone Soup week truly embodies the essence of the Stone Soup folktale."

For more information, visit childnutritioncouncil.com.