January 18, 2016

January Kitchen Volunteer Spotlight

Monday to Thursday mornings, hours before the lunch bell rings in schools across our city, our downtown kitchen is filled with the joyful enthusiasm of volunteers making and delivering lunches for kids who would otherwise go without. The amazing volunteers in our kitchen and in community kitchens all over Calgary are the heads, hearts and hands that feed 2,900 kids each school day. We are so grateful and inspired by their tireless dedication and passion to help ensure there are no hungry kids in Calgary and proud to count each one of these people as part of the BB4CK community! This month three members of the BB4CK community, Laurie Tamagi, Reanna Sawatzky and Sandra Berner share their stories of how they help feed Calgary kids.

Laurie Tamagi

Laurie Tamagi

Laurie Tamagi has been delivering lunches as a volunteer driver with BB4CK for about a year. Interested in helping with a school lunch program in Calgary, Laurie discovered BB4CK online, inquired to see how she could help feed kids and has been delivering lunches since!

“BB4CK is effectively meeting a critical need in the Calgary community. This organization is highly professional, incredibly efficient and sincerely cares about making a real difference in the lives of Calgary’s youth. With BB4CK, I know my small contribution is a part of an important and meaningful effort having significant impact in our city. When I deliver the lunches, I have a unique opportunity to see our school communities in action. I meet teachers, administrators and support staff, all committed to ensuring their students are safe and cared for every day. As a former teacher and avid community volunteer, I’m inspired by the spirit and dedication of these schools and of the enthusiastic staff and volunteers at BB4CK – all working together in support of Calgary kids!” – Laurie Tamagi

Just over a year ago Reanna Sawatzky started volunteering in the downtown BB4CK kitchen. A friend who had previously volunteered with BB4CK had a great experience and recommended the kitchen when Reanna was looking for a local volunteer opportunity. Once a week Reanna visits the kitchen to help prep for lunches before she begins her work day.

Reanna Sawatzky

Reanna Sawatzky

“After travelling and volunteering abroad, I was drastically impacted by the poverty and suffering around the world. It pained me to see the situations that people were living in. After returning home and doing research into the poverty in Calgary I was very driven to get involved in helping out locally. It astonished me to find out how much of my own city needs a helping hand. Through BB4CK I feel like I can make a positive impact in my community. My favorite part about volunteering in the kitchen is the people and the impact that we make. The kitchen has a wonderful atmosphere and volunteering is always the highlight of my week. Hearing the stories about the positive change that BB4CK has made in communities, schools and people’s lives is amazing. To me, I view it as not only helping give kids what they need, but also showing them that there is a big group of people that deeply care about their well being.” – Reanna Sawatzky

Sandra Berner has been delivering lunches for 3½ months and is loving every minute! “If there is a need and I have the ability to help, what a perfect match!” says Sandra. When looking for volunteer opportunities Sandra jumped at the chance to help lunches make their way to Calgary students.

“It’s special to see firsthand how many people and companies in Calgary give their time, talents, food, donations, and gifts of selflessness to put together healthy lunches for children and youth each day, giving those students a better chance to enjoy their education and to succeed. It really is amazing and heart-warming. Kudos to the generosity out there and to the incredible coordination/organization/planning that is done to achieve the deliveries each day. I love that as a volunteer driver I get to pop into so many schools and see the terrific atmosphere that staff and students create. I love driving, helping, schools, and the bit of exercise that I get…. so it’s a fabulous volunteer opportunity. Thank you to other drivers who are friendly and helpful in the parkade each morning. Hats off to the kitchen staff who get up waaay too early to put it all together and clean it all up! Josh and Cathy’s warm smiles, care, hugs, organization and sunny greetings are such a wonderful way to begin a delivery. I look forward to seeing them each shift. They brighten every day! I am very happy and thankful to be a small part of such a great team!” – Sandra Berner

January 18, 2016

Kids Helping Kids


Clockwise from left: Anaya, Ringette Calgary Team U16AA Team Blue, Ashlyn and Mitchell

Clockwise from left: Anaya, Ringette Calgary U16AA Team Blue, Ashlyn, and Mitchell

When 8-year-old Anaya discovered there are children in Calgary who do not get lunch every day she was inspired to take action! Instead of gifts for her birthday Anaya asked for donations to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids – donations that fill a tummy with a healthy lunch, allowing a child to focus on learning and fun instead of hunger. Anaya continued to find ways to feed kids by sharing her experience of volunteering and fundraising for BB4CK with others and selling Christmas cookies. Anaya is joined by an impressive number of Calgary kids taking action to raise awareness about childhood hunger and provide lunches to students.

Creative New Ways To Inspire Social Change  

In 2015, BB4CK received donations from over 20 birthdays, helping to provide hundreds of lunches for kids! Our city is buzzing with the activity of young people who are spreading the word about hunger in Calgary and finding creative new ways to inspire social change. Gifting lunches with birthday dollars, organizing snack drives, snack making parties, presentations, sales of garden veggies and volunteering in the BB4CK kitchen – the youth of Calgary are generously sharing their time, talents and funds to help ensure none of their peers go hungry.

We are so inspired by the generosity, enthusiasm and support of these passionate change-makers, using their heads, hearts and hands to help kids in their communities!

November 25, 2015

Calgary Herald Christmas Fund Helps Feed Hungry Kids

This year, BB4CK has been honoured to be selected as one of the 14 charities that the Calgary Herald’s Christmas Fund will support. The Herald’s Mike Bell recently visited the Kitchen, and tells the story about that experience here.

November 6, 2015

At Bishop Grandin High School, lunch is teamwork


On the lower level of Bishop Grandin High School is the Diverse Learning classroom, which serves as a learning space and a retreat for students in that program. Their teachers are devoted to these students and know them well. They can talk about everything from the kids’ academic needs and daily schedules to their personal lives—but what emerges again and again is these students’ capacity for kindness.

Two Diverse Learning students, Nicholas, 18, and Zack, 15, are devoted to helping peers. Each day, the boys help to pack and distribute lunches to students who would otherwise go without.

Lunches ready to be picked up. “We make a connection with every student that receives a lunch,” says Bishop Grandin’s Diverse Learning Teacher. “They may be  shy on the first day but that [goes] away very quickly.”

A peer-to-peer program

The program is a collaboration between Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, the diverse learning students, the guidance office, homeroom teachers and the school’s Culinary Arts Program. It also depends on word-of-mouth. “Students bring their peers here,” says Nicholas and Zack’s teacher. “It’s a very safe place [the students] have created.”

The students’ participation is integrated with the Alberta curriculum as a component of the Health and Life Skills program of study. To prepare and provide lunches, maintain high hygiene standards and account for allergies is no small responsibility.

Culinary Arts

Some Diverse Learning students are also taking Culinary Arts, a program run by chef Scott, who spent more than twenty years in professional kitchens before pursuing his teaching degree. When he arrived at the school five years ago, he oversaw the installation of a commercial kitchen just up the hall from the Diverse Learning classroom.

Culinary Arts teacher Scott (right) with student Mat, 17.

Scott’s students, dressed in chef’s whites, plan menus, calculate margins, prepare meals from scratch and sell them each day in the cafeteria. They also help to prepare the brown bag lunches that Nicholas and Zack distribute.

A cooperative effort

Bishop Grandin teachers have been cooperating to provide meals for students since Scott arrived at the school five years ago and learned there were students in need. “When they’re thinking about their stomachs they’re not thinking about school,” he says.

Many students go from the Culinary Arts program to the Professional Cooking program at SAIT.

The Diverse Learning teachers say they make a connection with every student who accesses the lunch program, and every student says thank you. “It’s not a free lunch, it’s a provided lunch. It’s an entirely different relationship from saying, ‘Let me buy you lunch.’”

Making lunches provides an excellent learning opportunity and necessary community-support, but to Nicholas the benefits are more personal. “It feels good to help someone who doesn’t have a lunch.”

Help a child

No matter how big or small your contribution, each dollar you donate will provide lunch for a hungry child.

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