August 26, 2019
Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK) aims to keep all kids from having that empty feeling in their tummies when they miss a meal or go without, and Calgary Co-op is pleased to help support the organization with this goal.
At schools across the city, the organization sees kids coming to class without lunches, with not nearly enough food, or a lack of healthy, filling food that can help feed their minds and growing young bodies.
“They maybe get a stomach ache, a headache, you get pretty grumpy, and that’s not a kid who is in a great position to learn,” explains Bethany Ross, Director of Operations for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids. “Sometimes, especially when they are younger, they don’t know why that’s happening. They don’t understand the reason they have a headache is because all they had for lunch was a granola bar, so it is a pretty weird feeling.”
Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids feeds over 4,000 hungry kids with a healthy lunch every single school day. About 40% of those lunches are made in the organization’s central Calgary kitchen facility, while the remaining 60% are made out in the community, at places like churches and community centres. All lunches are made by BB4CK’s community of 600+ volunteers every week.
BB4CK’s lunch brigade makes thousands of sandwiches daily—the core of their lunch kits. Also inside, kids find fruit and vegetables, granola bars and treats like squares so children have a well-balanced and delicious mid-day meal. Once packed, the lunches are delivered directly to schools by more volunteers.
“We try really hard to convey that these lunches were made, and the food is bought by people in your community; that people really care about you. They don’t know you, but they still think it’s really important that you should have lunch,” shares Ross. “For a kid who’s had a tough time, and hasn’t interacted with a lot of adults who are caring, it can be a really valuable point of connection, just to know that there are people in their community who care.”
How does BB4CK provide almost 1,000,000 lunches each school year? Children who might need a mid-day meal are identified by teachers at their school who may have noticed a student has stopped bringing their lunch, or that their lunch bag has gotten smaller. Keeping the children’s pride and dignity is also important; teachers may sneak the lunches into backpacks, or lockers, but students have the option of picking one up too. Other schools opt to put BB4CK’s lunches on a table in the lunchroom where anyone who’s hungry can help themselves.
“It’s incredibly generous,” says Ross of Co-op’s support for the organization. “We are thrilled to partner with Co-op in a way that they can help communities.”
It costs just $2 to feed a child in need, and 100% of BB4CK funding comes from donations from the community. If you are interested in getting involved visit www.bb4ck.org
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