July 11, 2016

Spring #GiftALunch Impact

Thank YouThe BB4CK community is amazing. Over six weeks in May and June, kids and families, individuals, small businesses and other groups were part of 217 people who made financial gifts to help ensure every child in Calgary has enough to eat at school. This community continues to take action to feed kids, and it makes a difference. Thank you.

Over the course of the spring #GiftALunch campaign, Calgarians and friends from other cities and countries joined together to ensure that every child in our city has a lunch to eat at school. Because of your support during #GiftALunch, BB4CK will receive an additional donation of $50,000 from our friends at The Prosser Charitable Foundation – funds that will help to further ensure every child in our city has what they need to be healthy.

Thank you for being such an important part of our community. Thank you for feeding kids who are hungry, giving them the energy to grow, to learn and to play!

June 27, 2016

Panorama Hills School Cookbook Project

In January, three grade two classes and one grade three class at Panorama Hills School embarked on an entrepreneurial adventure! The students worked with their mentor Ray Crowder, from the Bank of Montreal, to create a project with proceeds benefiting a charity.

The students learned about different charities and voted to choose BB4CK as their charity of choice. The students created a cookbook, and collected 250 family recipes from the many different cultures that make up their school community. The students worked with some Diefenbaker High School art students to create the cover page and divider pages of the cookbook. An awesome commercial (complete with bloopers!) was created to help promote the cookbook and the cookbooks were pre-sold for $20 each.

At the Entrepreneurial Adventure Showcase event, the students showcased their project and won a Calgary Innovation Award from BMO Financial Group. Cookbooks were picked up at the school’s Multicultural Night and students and their families had the opportunity to learn more about the project and the BB4CK community.

The project wrapped up at the school’s Cooperation Assembly, where the students presented BB4CK with a $1,551 donation to help provide lunches for Calgary kids. We are so grateful for the support of the Panorama Hills School Community – thank you so much taking action with such an impactful project to help ensure there are no hungry children in our city!

May 9, 2016

Making a difference in the lives of N.W. Calgary Kids

On Monday and Wednesday mornings, a joyful group of community and congregation volunteers meet at Bow Valley Christian Church to make lunches for students at three schools in N.W. Calgary.

May 9, 2016

Acadia Community Group: An Update

Volunteers (L to R) Sharon Montgomerie, Dorothy McCamis and Elizabeth Rodier prepare veggie cups

Last September, we spoke to Catherine Marlin about her new community group feeding kids in Acadia. We caught up with her this spring to find out how the past school year has been, and what other new community groups can learn from Marlin’s experiences.


Marlin set up the lunch program in 2015 alongside collaborator Diane Mather, with advice from public health nurse Carol Tomiyama and ongoing consultation with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids. The program has volunteer support from the Acadian Networking Group, as well as some financial support from the Calgary Co-op Community Foundation and Save-On Foods.

The Acadia community group’s original goal was to provide lunches four days a week to students at Acadia School, an elementary school, and David Thompson School, a middle school.

Today, the group provides meals and snacks three days a week to three schools, Acadia School, David Thompson School and Foundations for the Future Charter Academy. A group from the Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, a member of the Acadian Networking Group, creates lunches on the fourth day.

Whole lunches vs. top-ups

Marlin knew every child at the schools would not need a lunch, but she was surprised by how many students needed a little extra food. “A lot of kids come with something, but it’s nowhere near enough to last the full day,” Marlin says. In response, her community group has focused less on sandwiches and more on “grab and gobble” items like cheese and crackers, vegetarian meatballs, fruit and veggie cups and hard-boiled eggs. Because Marlin’s group is providing top-up food, it is now able to help feed 300 students at each school—twice as many as Marlin’s group originally expected.

Lesson learned: When it comes to providing nutrition to students with different needs (and at different growth-spurt stages), snack-sized items are key.

Volunteer Marilyn Shoults carries a box of sandwiches and fruit cups

Volunteer Marilyn Shoults carries a box of sandwiches and fruit cups.

Financial support

Marlin belongs to McDougall United Church, which is part of the Acadian Networking Group. Her community group recently received a United Church Conference Grant, which is a one-time-only grant for neighbourhood-based initiatives. “The lunch program fit the criteria perfectly,” Marlin says. The grant supports lunch program costs as well as two other McDougall United Church programs: an edible gardening program and the church’s existing community meals program. The Acadian Networking Group received a grant from the Calgary Co-op Community Foundation. This funding bought supplies for a baking day Marlin’s group held recently. The volunteers worked with David Thompson ME to WE leadership program students to bake cookies, muffins and granola. “We probably have enough baking now to last us until the end of the school year,” Marlin says.

Lesson learned: If you investigate and explore different opportunities you can discover various types of funding to support your group.

Creative solutions

During the school year, Marlin discovered that some students didn’t need lunch—but they did need breakfast. The volunteers came up with an instant oatmeal mix packed with protein-rich extras like dried fruit, oats, lentil flour and skim milk powder. The packs are stored in the offices at Acadia School, David Thompson School and Foundations for the Future Charter Academy, and students access the packs as needed, “It’s delicious,” Marlin says. “Especially the one with the dried cherries and the chocolate chips.”

Lesson learned: When you’re creative and flexible, you can meet the changing needs of your community.

What do the kids think?

Marlin says her group had a letter from a student thanking them for the lunches, which the student said kept her and her family supported during a time of financial instability. The children involved with meal-making through the ME to WE leadership program made individual cards for each volunteer they worked with. Feedback like this that comes directly from students is tremendously motivating for the volunteers. Once, when volunteers were delivering food to David Thompson School, a boy came over and said “Are you the ladies from the church who bring the food? Thank you. They’re excellent lunches.”

Lesson learned: Keep going. It makes a difference.

Find out how to get involved with a community group or learn how to create your own here.

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