July 12, 2018
Meet Vu, one of our wonderful volunteer delivery drivers! After learning about Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids at a charity event he was supporting, Vu decided to do a little research to learn more about BB4CK. “I was immediately drawn in by the morals and values that BB4CK stands behind. When I was growing up, my family wasn’t financially well-off. However, my mom did whatever she could to support her three kids to ensure that we were fed. Often, I would take whatever lunch that I had, and share it with or give it to classmates that didn’t have lunch,” says Vu. “Even though it saddens me that, 20 years later, there are still children that go hungry, I am happy and encouraged that an organization like BB4CK exists to bring large scale awareness to this issue. I am a firm believer that children are the future. Cliché, yes, but that’s what I passionately believe. Without proper nourishment, even the brightest of children are dulled. When I volunteer with BB4CK, I believe that I am not just delivering nourishment, but an opportunity.”
Vu has been delivering lunches since November of 2017. In addition to volunteering with BB4CK, Vu has engaged his own community to join in feeding hungry kids. The team from Vu’s company, EvolutionVN has volunteered in the BB4CK kitchen, making and packing lunches, and Vu helped raise awareness and funds to feed kids through a great charity fitness event in April of this year.
“The charity fitness event I organized featured multiple trainers, local food vendors, and lululemon, with proceeds going to BB4CK. Beyond the money raised, it was very important to have BB4CK there to share the real and unfortunate statistics related to kids who are in need of this service. I actively talk about BB4CK with my friends, family, and peers, encouraging them to get involved at any capacity. As my company broadens its reach, I would love to have a forum to teach and provide exercise/fitness education to kids. Healthy habits are instilled and developed at a young age. I believe that for complete and rounded development, in addition to nourishment, physical activity is an integral piece.”
What was your favorite lunch as a child? “Still, to this day, I love peanut butter sandwiches. Probably because I ate so many of them as a child!”
July 3, 2018
There are some great ways you can help feed kids through BB4CK by purchasing gifts, services, or attending events! Check out some of our amazing friends and partners below:
#GiftALunch! Give a gift in honour of a loved one that will change the life of a child in our city. You can give a gift in any amount you choose, every dollar helps ensure every Calgary child has a healthy lunch at school!
Make a statement with a purpose. Pick up a hand crafted Playfield bracelet – 10% of Playfield’s gross profits help feed kids.
When out for a meal check the menu for Mealshare items! When a customer orders a Mealshare item, they get their meal, and also help provide one meal to a youth in need! Find the full list of Calgary Mealshare Partner restaurants here.
Connect with Blanco Security to discuss protection for your home and business. They are helping to feed hungry kids with every new client they get this year.
Looking to get your home or business painted? This year, CertaPro Painters of Calgary North will be providing a donation to support Calgary charities; clients have the option of choosing to direct their support to BB4CK.
5 Vines has created an International Whisky Guild. For every bottle of whisky sold through the Guild, a donation will be made to purchase a lunch for a student who would otherwise go without.
Wrap your bouquet from Small Flower floral studio in lovely burlap for an extra $2 and help feed kids in our city!
Check our Vada Beauty – gemstone bracelets for a cause! Every bracelet purchased will have proceeds going to help ensure every Calgary kid has a healthy lunch.
Jewelry designer mlk. has created a gorgeous 4Kids bracelet, with $20 from each purchase going to help provide healthy lunches for hungry kids. Buy a bracelet and provide healthy lunches for a kid for a month!
Join Pigeonhole for Bubbles and Pearls every Monday night. Champagne and Caviar for $100 with proceeds going to help feed kids.
Selling your home? Consider a realtor from Agents of Change, and you can direct a portion of your realtor’s referral fee to help feed kids with BB4CK.
Use Donate a Car to get rid of an old vehicle – they’ll pick it up, and you’ll get a tax receipt!
Coming September 4th – Diamonds in the Rough Originals 6th Edition limited edition set of Chari-tees, called #LUNCHBAGLOVE.
June 19, 2018
Have you ever been hungry? Genuinely hungry – the kind of hungry where your stomach growls, then starts to feel empty and hollow? The kind of hungry where you know you’re hungry, but your stomach is past the point of hurting? So hungry that all your thoughts center on food, what you could eat, and where you could get it?
Every day, 4,200 kids walk through the doors of Calgary schools without enough food in their backpacks or money to buy lunch. Some students bring no food at all, while others bring a granola bar for lunch, or a piece of bread with margarine on it to get them through the day. The short term and long term effects of hunger for children are clear. These kids experience lower grades in school, fewer friendships, behavioural challenges, and mental health concerns.
Kids who don’t have access to the food they need can’t focus in class and struggle academically. Many times, children and youth who do not have access to food do not come to school at all, with much higher than average rates of being absent and missing classes. (Kleinman et al. 2002)
A student who doesn’t have lunch can miss out on one of the most valuable social experiences of school by not enjoying a meal in the cafeteria with all their friends. Being the only kid at the table without food does not feel good, so kids most often avoid it and miss the opportunity to develop friendships and healthy social skills. Instead, these students may be found hiding in a stairwell or bathroom until their friends finish eating.
Behavioural challenges often arise for kids who are hungry. Unable to calm their grumbling stomachs, and fearful of not knowing when and where they will get food, these kids may act in ways that can be surprising and unexpected. School staff tell us that kids who are hungry are more likely to act out against their friends or teachers, get into altercations or disrupt class. In desperation, some students will take food from anywhere in the school that they can find it. Studies tell us that kids who are hungry are 7 to 12 times as likely to experience serious behavioural problems as other kids. (Kleinman et al. 1998; 5 of 6)
Hunger often equals a lack of adequate nutrition, impacting the ability of children to develop to be as healthy as possible. Teachers share stories about students who are exhausted, lethargic, unable to join in recess games or during gym class – all because they are not getting the food they need to power their growing bodies.
Finally, kids who experience hunger are more at risk of mental health concerns, with depression and suicide risk both increasing for children and teens who have experienced hunger. (Alaimo, Olson, Frongillo 2002; McIntyre et al. 2013)
Parents are doing the very best they can with the resources they have to raise healthy and happy kids. They do not wake up in the morning with the intention of their children going hungry. When a parent isn’t able to send their child to school with a healthy lunch, this can cause great stress and distress. There are hundreds of reasons that families find themselves in these situations, from layoffs to illness. No two stories are exactly alike, although there is a common thread – most families never dreamt they’d have to wonder about where their next meal is coming from.
The reality of hunger is not easy. It is painful. It is isolating. It is overwhelming and crushing, and it impacts every moment of every day for someone who is experiencing it.
The reality of hunger is that it hurts, and that the solution is simple.
The solution to hunger is food.
Every school day, the BB4CK community comes together to make and deliver lunches for kids who would otherwise go without. Ensuring that kids have the food they need to satisfy their hunger, to fill their stomachs and fuel their bodies, is a simple solution that our community provides every school day.
That’s where you come in. You can feed these kids. Donate today to help ensure no kids in our city ever have to go hungry at school.
June 8, 2018
Meet Marg, one of our downtown kitchen’s incredible core volunteers. Marg has been joining us on Wednesday mornings to help feed kids since the fall of 2016. She brings warmth, care, and fabulous recipes to our kitchen! We love baking Marg’s Cheddar Cheese Coins and she’s shared the recipe below!
“I began to volunteer to make a difference in children’s school lives, and everything I have learned about the organization and its staff reinforces my belief that this small group of dedicated people are maximizing the good that they do with a small budget and big hearts. I had been looking for a volunteer job that would help children learn in school, but was not directly in the classroom. I found BB4CK online and it seemed like a good fit, especially since I am an early riser with lots of energy in the morning! I arrive around 6:30 am to set up the sandwich tables and then start the laundry, or fill in for any tasks that need doing before sandwich making can begin. I look forward to seeing the staff and other Wednesday volunteers each week – they all exude warmth and respect for one another while working quickly and efficiently to get the jobs done and have fun, too. I like the challenge of being a smoothly-functioning cog in the ‘well-oiled machine’ at the meat and cheese sandwich table!” – Marg
Marg’s favourite lunch as a child? “Growing up I was fortunate enough to live close to my elementary school, so I could walk home at lunchtime. My favorite lunch was home-made soup (often navy beans in beef stock), always on the same day as my mom baked many loaves of bread and, sometimes, homemade buns. I can retrieve the memories of those lovely smells from long ago, and I still can’t resist freshly-baked bread.”
Marg’s Cheddar Cheese Coins Recipe:
Adapted from a recipe in The Chatelaine Cookbook by Elaine Collett (Maclean-Hunter Publ., 1965, p.52). Makes 6 dozen.
1 1/2 cups grated cheese
1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 cup mayonnaise
A few teaspoons water as needed to make a stiff dough
Prepare baking sheets: line with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray or line sheets with ungreased parchment. Preheat oven to 425 F.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add grated cheese to dry ingredients and mix well.
Add mayonnaise in two portions, mixing well to make a stiff dough. If needed to blend in all dry ingredients, add water a teaspoon at a time until dough will gather into a firm ball.
Divide the ball into 4 parts and place on saran wrap. Shape each part into a log — about 1.5 inches in diameter. Pat in the ends to keep even diameter.
Chill in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes until dough is very firm. (Or freeze for later baking).
With a sharp knife, cut each log into thin slices (less than 1/4 inch). Slices may squish into an oval shape — no problem. Place slices on prepared baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425 F. until edges are dark golden or brown. Cooled ‘cheese coins’ should be somewhat crisp.
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