July 23, 2019
We all know how important healthy eating is to children and learning but what if you don’t have access to healthy food? That is where High River Food for Thought comes in by providing nutritious food to schools in the town.
“We provide lunches to local kids who come to school on a regular basis without one,” explains Suvi-Tuulia Lorenz-Curtis, program co-ordinator at High River Food for Thought. “All our lunches are prepared in brown bags and they include a juice box, a sandwich, a piece of fruit, and a snack.”
High River Food for Thought partners with local grocers to buy in bulk whenever possible to maximize their budget. Calgary Co-op is one of the partners of the program, providing fresh fruit and financial support to the organization.
“Getting those vitamins, minerals and nutrients from fresh fruit makes such a difference to these children,” says Penney McTaggart-Cowan, Vice President of Marketing and Member Experiences at Calgary Co-op. “Particularly for kids that might otherwise go hungry without a lunch and a snack like this. We’re so glad to be able to partner with High River Food for Thought to help these children in our community.”
High River Food for Thought provides anywhere from 80-115 lunches to children each day, depending on the time of year, and needs in the community. Lorenz-Curtis says children are referred to the program for financial reasons or when parents might be simply overwhelmed by other pressures in life including stress or a new baby.
“I remember one family who moved here after both parents lost their jobs. The kids were coming to school with some food but not enough, so the school approached them and suggested that the kids be put on the program,” Lorenz-Curtis recalls. “The family was super happy and then the dad got a job in Calgary, and we thought they might move away. But the family told us they wanted to stay because High River had taken care of them when they needed it. Eventually they got off the program, but sometimes you need that help for a while, and knowing that there is a community that’s taking care of you can make all the difference.”
Lorenz-Curtis says the support from Calgary Co-op has been a huge factor in what they’ve been able to achieve, but the arrangement is more than financial for High River Food for Thought.
“Yes, the money makes a huge difference for us and these kids, but it’s also our relationship with Co-op. They really take care of us; our order is always ready, they know what we're looking for, and the produce manager will let us know about sales so we can maximize what we get. Co-op is really watching out for us.”
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