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No kids go hungry – SAIT Students Giving Back

No kids go hungry – SAIT Students Giving Back

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 229 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. Some of these schools are supported by incredible community groups – this is one of their stories:

SAIT Culinary Arts Association students are stepping up every week to provide delicious and nutritious lunches for our local #YYC kids. They volunteer for this every week, and are supported by SAIT, using their kitchen and facilities. Why? Here’s a few of their stories:

 

Laura, the lead of the SAIT Culinary Arts Association’s BB4CK Partnership:

“I got involved in BB4CK through the SAIT Culinary Arts Association. I had been looking for an opportunity for the students to get involved in the broader Calgary community throughout this school year. When Chef Andrew Hewson approached me about finding volunteers for BB4CK, I knew it would be the perfect fit for us. We already have the facilities and proper AHS licensing to produce food, and not only would we be doing service for the community, but this gives us a regularly scheduled event that is hugely beneficial to provide continuity for the Culinary Arts Association.

It is great to have the opportunity to cook for a diverse population and learn about what type of food is required for different purposes. Often, for extra-curricular cooking events, we make elevated fine-dining dishes. While these are fun to do sometimes, I believe there is significant value that comes from preparing simple, wholesome food that comes from the heart. This partnership proves to students that a meal can be as simple as a sandwich and a serving of vegetables and fruit and still meaningful and important to make.

Every time we make lunches for BB4CK, we always have an abundance of students wanting to help out, everyone has a fantastic time while they are in the kitchen, and they leave happier than when they arrived. Doing this kind of service not only feeds the community, but it feeds the souls of those who volunteer.

Put simply; I volunteer for BB4CK because I believe in the importance of strong communities and good food.”

 

Ashleigh, a regular SAIT Culinary Arts Association volunteer, and a previous recipient of some BB4CK love (and food)!

“Well I have had the opportunity to volunteer years ago at the downtown kitchen making sandwiches but what really drew me to doing this and joining in on this wonderful project was the support you guys give to Calgary as a whole. You guys fed me through high school at Westbrook Discovering Outreach while I was trying to graduate and it was the one thing that kept me going there to get work done.

I still believe to this day that the one important thing to make the world a better place is to give that support however it may be to the younger generations since they will be the ones to carry on. Connection and giving back are two things I really value. So giving back to you guys, the ones who helped me in a time of need, it’s only right to start here. And being giving the opportunity to start this with SAIT Baking has been a huge honour that I hope to continue into our 2nd year.”

 

Chloe, a regular SAIT Culinary Arts Association volunteer: 

“I started volunteering for BB4CK when my classmate; Ashleigh asked us if a few of us if we would like to help out make baked goods for lunches for kids that don’t have access to a proper lunch to get them through the day.

Volunteering with BB4CK reminds me of all the times I volunteered with Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer and District. Being able to work alongside other students in the Baking and Cooking programs that help out BB4CK is a wonderful experience. Helping BB4CK makes me feel happy and it feels great giving back to the community when its needed most.

 

Cecilia, a regular SAIT Culinary Arts Association volunteer: 

“I’ve always loved the part about baking where I get to see other peoples’ expressions when presented with baked goods.  The joy that can come from an unexpected gift is immense and incredible, and it fills my own heart with joy.  In the kitchen, it’s harder to see that expression on peoples’ faces, but I know they still get excited when they purchase their delicious desserts – it’s dessert after all!

Ashleigh asked for my help in volunteering for this organization, so I was helping her as a friend before I even knew what I was baking for.  It gives me joy to know that those cookies we’re making are going to BB4CK, an organization that will make less fortunate kids even more happy than my baking alone could do otherwise.  I hadn’t heard of this organization previously (as I mentioned before, I was originally doing this to help out Ashleigh), but I’m so glad to now be a part of it, making kids happy from behind the scenes in the kitchen.”

 

To everyone who volunteers with us (and bakes those delicious, delicious oatmeal cookies!!) thank you! You are truly working towards a future where no kids go hungry.

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No kids go hungry – Changing Lives

No kids go hungry – Changing Lives

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 200 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. These are some of our stories:

The lunches we provide to kids in need are so much more than a lunch. They are a tool for connection. They help to bridge gaps, build trust, and foster community and caring within our schools. Sam’s story is just one example of how a lunch can pave the path to a brighter future.

As a brand new high school in Calgary’s far SE neighbourhood of Seton, the staff at started their school year in September not knowing any of their students. Starting a school year with hundreds of new students was challenging for many different reasons. One main challenges staff faced was not knowing which students required support or how they could support those in need. 

Mary, a guidance counsellor in the School’s Student Success Centre, was quick to identify that some students were arriving to school without a lunch in their backpacks. Mary reached out to BB4CK and working together, we made sure that the school had the resources necessary to provide lunches to kids in need. The Student Success Centre started making lunches for hungry students and within a few months they were feeding over 20 kids. Slowly, the school staff were able to get to know these students on a more personal level. One particular student – Sam – became a daily visitor to the Student Success Centre. Sam was reserved and withdrawn, but she was always so appreciative and happy to be able to enjoy the food provided through the BB4CK lunch program.

As Sam grew to trust Mary and the other staff at the Student Success Centre, she started to open up. She quickly became a frequent visitor to Mary’s office, sometimes several times a day, and Mary and Sam developed a strong rapport. Mary came to learn that Sam required a lot of more support – not only did she have limited access to healthy meals at home, but she was dealing with social and emotional problems that were impacting her learning and self-confidence.

To get Sam more engage, Mary asked her if she would be willing to help with the lunch program. Sam was more than happy to help. Sam has been the school’s one consistent, reliable student volunteer – helping to make lunches for the majority of the second semester. Mary says, “it has been heartwarming to watch this student transition from a rather quiet, struggling student to an out-going, more confident individual who is more than willing to give back to her school”. Sam is working with Mary to deal with the barriers she faces, her belly is full, and she now has connection to a community that cares for her and that she can rely on.

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No kids go hungry – Mental Health & Lunch

No kids go hungry – Mental Health & Lunch

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 200 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. These are some of our stories:

Ms. Lust is a teacher at a local Calgary High School. She works in a classroom tailored for students with complex mental health challenges. Each child in her class suffers from a mental health diagnoses and most are not getting their basic needs met at home – this includes food and sleep – two of the primary foundations for mental health management. Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids has been working with the school’s staff and teachers since 2014 to ensure their students are not spending the school day hungry. BB4CK provides funding to support the school lunch program and teachers like Ms. Lust use this funding to purchase food and make lunches at the school. Their efforts are entirely voluntary but they give their time and energy because they recognize the importance nutrition and food can have on a child’s health, education, and future. Here are a few impact stories Ms. Lust shared with us. She emphasized that BB4CK’s resources are used daily in her classroom with much gratitude for this resource:

Ms. Lust uses some of the funding to make a big bowl of cereal trail mix for her students to snack on throughout the day. This food has become quite a fun topic of discussion in her class. The students barter and pick out their favourite items or trade what they like the most. More importantly, this bowl of trail mix has become a tool for building friendships and community in her program – something that is particularly important for kids who have often been stigmatized because of their circumstances.

Amy is one of Ms. Lust’s students. Her home circumstances are far from ideal and she has recently received independent student status, even though she is not yet 18.  Amy is a bright young leader who has faced both physical and emotional abuse in her home since she can remember.  She suffers from depression, mostly due to her home circumstances.  This year, she had the courage and strength to move out and gets very little money to live each month. Amy still continues to attend school, and because of the BB4CK lunch program, she has food to eat everyday. Having access to food in the classroom ensures that Amy won’t be hungry throughout the day.  She is so thankful for this food. It’s one less thing Amy needs to worry about and instead she can focus on her education and graduating next year.

Another student, Jay, often arrives to school on an empty stomach and without food in his backpack. He loves the granola bars and sandwiches he has access to in the classroom. He expresses sometimes that these are the only things he eats in a day – and that he doesn’t always get dinner at home. 

Shawna comes from a low-income home. Living in poverty not only means limited access to food but that often cheap, unhealthy foods are the only option. Shawna, like many other kids living in poverty, is facing physical health and dental challenges that are a result of poor nutrition. She recently had a tooth infection and because of the pain, couldn’t eat hard foods. Her family didn’t have enough money to buy special foods for her to eat so she was coming to school hungry.  Ms. Lust was able to use BB4CK lunch program funding to provide her with some soup and noodles to help fill her stomach.

 

 

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No kids go hungry – A School’s Perspective

No kids go hungry – A School’s Perspective

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 200 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. These are some of our stories:

“I have worked with the Calgary Board of Education for 37 years.

It is only since Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids began that I have witnessed the amazing change in students of all ages from a simple thing like a sandwich and a snack.

There have been students hiding at lunch so nobody sees they don’t have any food; students not attend school because they have no food for snack or lunch; students (many) who steal food from other students’ backpacks when they are pretending to go to the washroom (comes down to basic survival); students who have taken food off of teacher’s desks; many students who go home knowing they will not have anything to eat until they come back to school the next day; the list could go on and on.

I had a family that the kids had to take turns eating… whoever got a lunch did not get supper, then the next day it was the other child’s turn to have lunch, but not supper, because he had supper the day before. It is so heartbreaking to actually be with these kids, see their tears,and you try to do anything you can to change their life.

On the other side of the coin… I have had mothers come to me so thankful for feeding their children (I always tell them the story of Brown Bagging and the volunteers). I would tell them that one day they would be able to help someone in need, all they have to do is pay it forward when they were able to. They always responded that they definitely would. A lunch changes more than a hungry tummy. I have seen such changes; previous students become the mothers of present students and they always comment on what a difference the lunches made to them and how the lunches made them feel. Many have told me they donate to the food banks because they were looked after when they were hungry. I would suggest they donate to Brown Bagging as well. This is one way we change society for the better.

Once we were able to look after their basic need of food, we began to see the change that it made in these children. The stealing stopped; the students started coming to school regularly; students who would hide and not speak to anyone transformed into well-adjusted students that socialized with other students, talked to the adults in the building, and began learning!! Teachers could not believe the difference they saw in the classroom.

Food is one of our basic needs of life and without it, there is no learning, no socialization, and it affects the confidence of students because they feel they do not fit in –they see all the other children at lunch, happy, sitting with their friends and excited about what they have in their lunch kit. A student without any food would never put themselves in a position to be in the lunchroom around those happy students eating lunches.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, the volunteers, and most of all the people who make it possible for Brown Bagging to exist are all unsung heroes! You have no idea what a difference a little lunch makes to a hungry tummy. Like I said, food is such a basic need and children going to school hungry but expected to learn is a tragedy.”- N.E. Calgary School Administrator

 

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No kids go hungry – Adoni

No kids go hungry – Adoni

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 200 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. These are some of our stories:

 

Adoni is a young boy attending Grade 8 at a school in Calgary. The school’s assistant, Ms. Hachtel, along with Adoni’s teachers started to notice that every day Adoni would show up to school very tired and unable to focus in class. His gym teacher commented that he was unable to keep up with the rest of the kids in gym class. Adoni was always by himself, unengaged, and barely seen during lunchtime. Out of concern, some of the teachers approached him only to discover that Adoni wasn’t eating. His family is struggling and there isn’t enough at home to send him to school with a lunch. Some days he doesn’t eat dinner either.

The next day, Adoni was invited to the office at lunchtime to receive a BB4CK lunch. When he got there, there were a bunch of their kids – some of them where his classmates and other he didn’t know – grabbing food from a bin. He was very shy at first. Ms. Hatchel invited him to grab a sandwich, he did and then immediately left the office.

Adoni started showing up to the office every day. After a few days his shyness vanished and he started to engage with his peers. He was there talking to other kids about their favorite sandwich and coming up with names for items they love, like the energy ball. “The changes we’ve seen in Adoni are amazing. He smiles when he sees any of the school staff in the hallways. He greets us first rather than us greeting him, and he is now participating in different school activities. Through the lunch, we are building confidence in kids like Adoni and letting them know people care about them,” Ms. Hatchel expresses with emotion. 

Mr. Mark, Adoni’s science teacher adds “the Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids program is allowing us to connect positively with the students. Building a trustworthy relationship that allows us to care for them the best way we can.”

 

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No kids go hungry – Kayla and Brad

No kids go hungry – Kayla and Brad

 

BB4CK works with schools, community groups and volunteers to ensure that over 200 schools across Calgary are provided with lunch for hungry kids. These are some of our stories:

 

I’d like to tell you about 9-year-old Kyla and her 7-year-old brother Brad. Kyla and Brad go to school every day with empty lunch kits. A few weeks ago, Kayla had the courage to approach one of her teachers, Ms. Stark to tell her, “we are very hungry, there is no food at home,”. Fortunately for these kids, their school is a part of the BB4CK community and lunches are delivered to the school each day. Without asking any questions, Ms. Stark listens and cares for Kayla and her brother every day while making sure they fill their bellies with a healthy lunch.

Recently, Kayla has started visiting Ms. Stark after classes are done and everyone is heading home. She asks if her and Brad can take a few of the leftover sandwiches and snacks so they can both have supper at night. “Her eyes light up whenever we send home leftovers” says Ms. Stark, “and we are always happy to do this since we know there will be another delivery tomorrow.”

 

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Lunch Is Love… Story from a S.E. Elementary School

“Our school is in a high needs area where many families struggle to provide adequate meals for their families. Thanks to the support of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, many of our students have healthy food options to eat throughout the day. Every day students come to utilize the snacks that are provided. Without these they would have nothing to eat. The sandwiches, fruit and veggies are provided during our lunch program, which supplements those students who would not have enough to eat throughout the day otherwise. The students are always excited to choose from the options provided, as for many students these types of food are not purchased in their homes. Many students will even ask if they can take snacks home for their younger siblings to eat. This program assists our students in learning, as without proper nutrition we know learning does not occur. We would like to thank you for your continued support as it makes such a difference in our school community.”

More Than A Lunch – Impact at a N.W. Elementary School

Every day, the BB4CK community feeds kids in 225 schools across Calgary. Recently, a NW elementary school shared their story of the impact BB4CK has on their school community. The food and care provided to the students has a lasting impact on the lives of those touched; this is about more than a lunch. This is about taking action to care for one another in our communities.

Their school principal shares, “I have the privilege of seeing first-hand the rewards of everyone’s generosity. Being able to tell a parent not to worry about providing a lunch for their child and seeing the relief that brings to them. Seeing happy children looking forward to lunchtime knowing they are getting a lunch that was especially made for them. Staff that know that their students perform and focus better on a full stomach and get along better with others. I really appreciate the partnership we have with BB4CK and the support you give to our students and their families. We have had an amazing relationship with BB4CK over my years as the principal at our school. The staff and volunteers we have worked with through BB4CK have been so accommodating and are always cheerful and thoughtful. This year we have between 12-15 children receiving lunches each day.”

The NW elementary’s Lunchroom Supervisor shares a story of the impact a lunch has on one of their students, “There have been at least 3 children getting lunches for years. I do not know their situation for getting the lunches. They pick what they want and I find that one boy usually takes everything! Sometimes, I find that he is wanting more but does not ask. I walk past him and he is scraping the bowl several times even though there is nothing left. If there is extra, I ask him if he would like more. I’m sure all the children are appreciative of the lunches, but I feel that this boy is more so.”

A mother of two boys receiving lunches at this school shared, “since coming to this school, I feel comfortable. I feel good that my kids are provided for. I pray for the school and for those who make the lunches. They are amazing! God bless them all for feeding my children. I have no milk, no bread, but my kids have lunches!”

The care and compassion of the lunches extends far beyond the walls of the school. The stories from this school show the impact you make in your community when you take action to support kids. Feed kids today by visiting bb4ck.org/donate-now.

Tearin’s Story

“My mom had me when she was young, and my brother came 2 years after. Her and my Dad split up when I was about two and that time was really rough for my mom. She tried her best, but began struggling with substance abuse when I was in grade 3.

Many school days we wouldn’t have sufficient lunches. Some days it would be a bag of crackers and cheese, and other days we didn’t have anything to eat.

It was embarrassing to go to school without lunch, when my mom did pack me lunch sometimes I wouldn’t even want to pull it out of my bag because people would look at me weird. I would wait until recess and scarf it down real quick. I would almost worry about that more than being hungry sometimes. I didn’t really have a lot of friends, I was unhealthily underweight, and I was sick all the time.

The teachers stepped in and without making a big deal of it, they started giving my brother and I lunches. The teachers never made me feel different that I was a Brown Bagging kid. I remember my lunch teacher, Ms. Yang, who looked out for me. We were getting full lunches every day and sometimes she would put extra stuff in my bag for me to take home, like extra lunches or something she had brought for us herself. In grade 4, I was diagnosed with epilepsy. I had a big seizure in the school lunchroom and Ms. Yang was the one who found me, she took me to the office, sat with me, and made sure I was ok.

Lunch was one of the things I didn’t have to worry about when I was having seizures in class or coming to school without clean clothes. Lunch was never something I had to think about twice. I didn’t feel different on that one because there were so many other kids that had Brown Bag lunches too. I lived with my Dad after grade six, I was eating more and put on weight, and I wasn’t sick all the time, my lice was gone, I was able to make friends, move forward and my life completely changed. My mom changed for the better too, she’s done so much for herself. Our relationship has improved with work, you need to be able to let go of the past instead of holding onto it. This program is not just helping the kids; it is showing the parents that you can get back up with a little bit of help.

It is really important to show this act of kindness to kids. It’s not just about getting a lunch, it’s showing that there’s a whole community of people out there who are doing this because they care.

The lunches and the Brown Bagging program are not something I grew up thinking about, but now looking back, I think of how much of an impact those acts of kindness had. I can’t say if they changed me for who I am, but I choose to hold on to what those people did for me instead of what the kids were saying. I choose to hold on to the fact that people are out there that care about you. They were getting me lunches and feeding me and making sure I was going to make it ok.

As an adult now, coming out of that, I know there were a lot of people who went out of their way to do nice things for me and I’d like to give that back now.

So many people need help and I can do my part. I want to help people, specifically kids, kids who don’t know how to deal with these things growing up. I’ve been an EMR [Emergency Medical Responder] for a year now and I’m working on gaining more experience, and going for my PCP [Primary Care Paramedic] in January.

It doesn’t matter whatever is going on at home. A kid needs a lunch and that’s it. To all the people giving lunches, you’re doing a great thing, it’s real, it’s even bigger than that for these kids. They are so small and don’t know all that is being done to help them, but they will. It’s important to hold on to that and keep this going because we grow up, we remember, and we’re going to do things to help people too.” – Tearin

Donate now to feed and care for kids like Tearin.

Your Lunch For Jennifer

“I remember the Monday everything changed.

I was 8 years old. I sat in the corner of the lunchroom, head down, trying to be invisible. My stomach hurt and my head ached.

I was hungry, and a BB4CK lunch changed that. This is why I’m forever grateful for you.

On this particular Monday, the lunchroom supervisor, Mrs. Porter noticed me. She saw that none of the other kids were talking to me. She watched as everyone dug into their lunch – everyone except me. She looked at me sitting alone in the corner, trying to ignore everyone else eating. She knew I was craving their food, and also, their friendship.

I was hungry and lonely and wishing one of the other kids would share their lunch with me.

I was the only kid in my class without a lunch. I was also the only one with shoes one size too small, and a torn and tattered backpack. I was different – and different meant I had no friends.

That is, until Mrs. Porter noticed me.

I don’t know much about her, but that day, in my 3rd grade mind, Mrs. Porter was a superhero.

This was just another Monday with nothing to eat. Sitting in the corner, I was counting down the minutes until I could go back to my classroom. Then, a voice, “Is your name Jennifer?” I looked up and into the eyes of Mrs. Porter. She gave me a small smile and held out a sandwich in a plastic bag.

“Would you like an egg salad sandwich?” she offered.

My eyes must have said it all, because before I squeaked out “Yes”, she had placed it in my hands. It was the best sandwich I had ever eaten – and with it came a couple carrots, some apple slices, and a homemade cheese biscuit.

Every day after that, when I walked into the lunchroom, Mrs. Porter was waiting for me with a lunch and a kind word. I noticed that other kids sometimes got a lunch from Mrs. Porter too. One day, Mrs. Porter asked if I’d like to sit with her and Alina. Mrs. Porter asked about our days, our school work, and our families, while Alina and I ate our egg salad sandwiches together.

I was no longer hungry, and I had made a new friend. That’s why I’m grateful for you and BB4CK.

The lunch that Mrs. Porter gave me every day came from BB4CK. She told me that each lunch was made by someone who cared for me and wanted me to succeed. That lunch was more than just a sandwich to me. That lunch gave me a sense of belonging and a full stomach.

Now, thinking back to all those years ago, I am deeply grateful for the difference you made in my life. Those lunches gave me hope. They changed everything.”

*Based on a true story

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