March 7, 2016

A Community Effort

One of the longest-standing community groups in the Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids community is located at Crossroads Community Church. Facilitated by John Estabrooks, the BB4CK program at Crossroads began to take shape in the fall of 2008 and in January 2009 volunteers started preparing and delivering lunches to four schools in their neighborhood. In 2010 they added their fifth school and have supported these schools for the past seven years.


Monday’s volunteers from left: Gillian, Marge, Peggy, Jo, Elsie

Currently, Crossroads creates lunches with the help of three different volunteer groups. “We have a Monday group, a Wednesday group, and I look after lunches on Friday, we just have one school that has Friday lunches,” shares Estabrooks. “From early on our Monday group came to be a group of retired ladies,” says Estabrooks, “we’ve had ladies from the community who attend the Ascension Lutheran church up the road and the ladies here from Crossroads. They have become their own little unit and look after Mondays.”


Wednesday’s volunteers from left: Roy, John, Larry, David, Richard, Linda

Gillian, Marge, Elsie, Jo, Peggy and Anne make up the dedicated Monday volunteer group. “Gillian does the organizing, she does the menu and shopping and all kinds of prep,” explains Estabrooks, “the organizing of who is going to eat what, that’s Gillian.” As a former lunch room supervisor, Gillian manages the kitchen and shopping with ease and preps lunch items for the Monday and Wednesday volunteer groups, “if you do the extra prep work it’s easier on the other volunteers, and I like to be organized” she says. Gillian truly enjoys her work and the company of her fellow volunteers – “it gives me purpose” she explains, “it’s very rewarding.” The other volunteers echo Gillian’s statements, grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and for the fun and friendship they experience with their group. Marge shares that “lunches are important; they give children the opportunity to learn better.” Her advice to potential community volunteers? “Give it a try, you’ll probably like it.”

The Wednesday group is made up of six volunteers: John, Larry, David, Richard, Linda and Roy. Their group is featured in the video below. Both groups are lively and joyful and passionate about making a difference in the lives of those in their community. “You meet needs, you help people as you can, you play together,” says Estabrooks, “it’s a neat thing and Brown Bagging is a pivotal part of that for us.”

Learn more about volunteering with a community group.

March 7, 2016

Lunch is Love… Story from a SE Elementary School

Smiling BoyThe power of a sandwich exceeds its most basic function. Not only can a sandwich fill a tummy and satisfy hunger; a sandwich can demonstrate love and comfort, emphasize trust and safety, nurture understanding and caring and encourage community and empowerment.

At BB4CK we see the evidence of this in everything we do. The power of a sandwich is most apparent when we see and hear about the impact that it has on the life of a child and those who care for and support this child.

The following story comes from a BB4CK lunch program administrator at a SE Calgary elementary school:

“Our school has a male student in Gr. 5 who has two younger sisters that also attend our school. When they started here, the boy would hang around the office in the hall area every lunch hour. He was very quiet and I was never able to strike up a conversation with him. Soon I put it together; he was watching me hand out full or part lunches. I noticed he never ate anything. After a couple of weeks, the boy came into the office and hung around my desk, but always said he wasn’t hungry. Finally, he would accept the smallest snack, but that was it. Then he began to trust me and see we didn’t judge these hungry children. Through conversation I learned that whatever food his mom (a single parent) has goes to his two younger sisters. I checked for a week and the girls had somewhat of a lunch (which Brown Bagging now supplements). This boy now feels comfortable and safe to come for food. Now instead of hanging in the hall not eating and not talking, he is social, trusting and fed. Even though our students are young, they still come with fears of telling people there is no food at home. We work at making it safe and normal for us to give out food.”

March 3, 2016

One Lunch Makes a Difference – Summit Kids Community Group

Summit Kids

“Start small. Even one lunch makes a difference.”

Last year, the management team of Summit Kids, an innovative out-of-school care program, was exploring new ways to make a difference in their community. When they learned about Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids they embraced the opportunity to start making lunches for kids in our city who would otherwise go without. Summit Kids Lunches

Led by Summit Kids’ Inspiration Architect, Chad Fawcett, the volunteer group meets at the West Hillhurst Community Association (WHCA) to serve 3 schools and create 100 lunches each week. Chad, the program’s champion, runs and promotes the program and recruits new volunteers from both inside and outside the organization. “We’ve really made it a community initiative, something that we didn’t realize would happen when we first started. It was just us, it was just going to be an in-house thing and now it’s really great when I look at our volunteer schedule” shares Nancy Klensch, Creator of Summit Kids.

Upon sharing their story with their ATB branch, branch staff inquired how they could be involved and have been volunteering ever since. WHCA staff and members of the community have become involved through their community association and have taken part in rolling up their sleeves to make lunches. “Every couple of weeks a group comes in and bakes. At Christmas time we made sugar cookies and the kids in our Summit Kids program here decorated the cookies” Klensch shares, “It was a true community contribution. All the cookies that went out in the lunches were decorated with lots of love from our kindergarten kids.”

The schools have shared positive feedback with their group. “They really do see a difference” Klensch says “It all fits in academically and socially, one lunch makes a huge difference. It even goes beyond primary hunger. It’s a huge reason to do what we do.”

Klensch does the grocery shopping on Sundays and loves the opportunity to educate other people about their program. “Standing in the grocery check out line is the perfect opportunity to educate people” explains Klensch. “When people see 14 loaves of bread, 40 apples, 40 oranges and all of the groceries they always kind of look at you and go, “what are you doing?””

Klensch’s piece of advice for those interested in starting a community group? “Start small, that’s ok. You can start by joining a group like ours, coming in once a month and just learning and seeing if this is something for you. It is never too small.” “Hopefully we’ll just keep getting bigger and better and helping more and one day we won’t have hungry kids.”

Find out how you can create a community group to make lunches for students in your neighbourhood.

February 28, 2016

Join Our Team!

Temporary Kitchen Supervisor (Maternity leave coverage) May 2, 2016- June 30, 2017


Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK) is a grassroots, community-driven charity that provides opportunities for people to take meaningful action in their communities by providing lunch for kids who are hungry. We have a small staff team that empowers thousands of volunteers and community supporters each year to have a huge impact, feeding over 2,900 kids in 190 schools each day that would otherwise go without. BB4CK is agile, flexible, dynamic and continually changing to find opportunities to take meaningful action to build strong communities.

Working cohesively with the Operations Coordinator & Lead Driver, the Kitchen Supervisor is a critical part of a committed, hardworking and fun team!  The ideal candidate is a dynamic, energetic leader and facilitator. They will schedule, train and support veteran and new volunteers; manage food and supply orders; lead in preparing  food and clean up; stay current on Alberta Health and Safety Standards and ensure the overall health and wellness of this kitchen. This individual will work 30 hours per week, Monday – Thursdays starting at 6:30am.

Reporting to the Operations Coordinator, the Temporary Kitchen Supervisor is responsible to:

Schedule, supervise, support, train, inspire and engage all kitchen volunteers
Meticulously maintain Alberta Health and Safety standards
Manage and budget all food and supplies needed for the kitchen
Support volunteers working in community programs to have the resources they need

This position will require:

Stellar organizational and time management skills, thriving in a busy environment
Detail-oriented and able to track many moving parts
Energetic, engaging and able to quickly build rapport and connection
Ability to work independently and the love of working with a team
Certification in Alberta Food Safety Basics and First Aid/CPR (required)

This description reflects the general responsibilities of this position and is not intended to be a detailed description of all duties that may be inherent in the position.

If you are looking for a purpose driven and compelling place to work, please email your cover letter and resume to by March 22, 2016.

We thank all applicants for their interest in BB4CK, however only those under consideration will be contacted.

Thank you for considering this opportunity!

Help a child today

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