October 21, 2014

Powerful Team Joins Forces to Help Students

Holy Trinity School students Alondra Segovia-Garcia, left, Desmond Rutherford and Kevin Abiles are joined by Calgary Board of Education Chief Supt. David Stevenson, city police Chief Rick Hanson and Calgary Catholic School District Chief Supt. Gary Strother during the launch of the Integrated School Support Project on  Sept. 18, 2014.

There’s strength in numbers — and when those numbers add up to support students and their families, the results can be powerful indeed.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids has joined with 16 other community and government organizations in the Integrated School Support Project, or ISSP. Currently being piloted at Patrick Airlie School and Holy Trinity School, both located in the southeast community of Forest Lawn, the ISSP focuses a wide range of resources and people to create a supportive environment — one in which children can succeed both academically and socially, says Calgary Police Chief Rick Hanson, one of the prime movers behind the project.

“The only way this could have happened was through the support of many partners,” Hanson says. “The fact that this vast amount of resources has come together so quickly is a testament to how eager people and organizations are to help.”

The ISSP approach brings together nutrition, fitness, mental health, tutoring, a positive police presence and more. For BB4CK — which was already providing lunches in the two schools — it’s a privilege to be part of a team that shares a belief in helping kids be the best they can be.

“As a city we are extremely blessed with groups of people who are willing, when they see a need, to pull together and do something about it,” says BB4CK Community Coordinator Jill Birch. “Our mission is to work with Calgary schools to identify kids who are hungry and find ways to feed them. So you can see why that lines up for us. We really want to be part of a lasting social impact on these kids’ lives, and the lives of those who support them.”

Although BB4CK is just one component of the ISSP, its contribution is key, Hanson says.

“The impact of proper nutrition on a child’s learning is strongly supported by research. BB4CK has been instrumental in bringing attention to the need of proper nutrition in schools. By providing food for those kids who have nothing to eat, they help ensure that a major barrier to success is removed.”

For more information on the ISSP and a full list of partner organizations, click here.



October 21, 2014

Matching Campaign Doubles Down


Imagine if every dollar you donated to help feed hungry kids in Calgary suddenly became $2.

That’s exactly what’s happening, right now through Nov. 15, during the BB4CK Matching Gift Challenge thanks to the generosity of the Prosser Foundation.

“This is a great opportunity for people to see their donations in action,” says Kathy Prosser, who along with her husband Eric created the foundation in 2002 to support charities in the areas of education, poverty relief and helping children and youth.

Every dollar donated to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids will be matched by the Prosser Foundation, up to $60,000 — for a grand total of $120,000 raised. With each lunch provided by BB4CK costing about $1, that’s a lot of kids who won’t go hungry in our city.

“The funding allows us to give kids the opportunity to be the best they can be,” says BB4CK executive director Tanya Koshowski.

More than just making and delivering lunch from its central kitchen, BB4CK looks to decentralize the process, and the extra funding is a boost toward that goal.

“(These) funds allow us to provide grocery gift cards to schools and community groups to provide lunches for their own kids in need, and their neighbours,” explains Melissa Cooney-Burk, executive connector with BB4CK.

For Prosser, choosing Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids as a beneficiary was easy. “It works,” she says. “For $1, I’ll feed a kid and he’ll do better at school. That, for me, is the essence of it — there’s a direct link.”

For more information on the BB4CK Matching Gift Challenge, watch the video on our home page at

To learn more about the Prosser Charitable Foundation, click here.

To donate to BB4CK, click here.



October 21, 2014

5 Facts About Nutrition and Learning

1. Taking in plenty of calories doesn’t prevent malnutrition. Malnourished kids are lacking nutrients, not food. Vitamins, minerals and other essential components of a good diet are as important to health and mental acuity as protein, carbohydrates and fats.

2. Foods high in saturated fats and sugar cause energy levels to drop, impairing kids’ ability to think clearly and learn.

3. Eating lunch at school gives your kids the energy they need to concentrate and to participate in after-school activities. It also helps make sure they don’t gorge on unhealthy snacks when they get home.

4. We know that hungry children can’t learn. They struggle to concentrate in class and may act out because they are hungry. … They feel sick, get distracted and start to fall behind.

5. A meal at school acts as a magnet to get children into the classroom. And, according to the United Nations World Food Programme, continuing to provide a daily meal to children as they grow helps keep them in school. There is wide range of benefits, many of which extend beyond the classroom.

— Sources:;;;

August 19, 2014

Chuckwagons for Charity


The Brakemen Foundation

When Derek Krivak and Earl Hale decided to pool their resources to help Calgary charity groups, they were off to the races. The Calgary Stampede’s Rangeland Derby chuckwagon races, that is. And in the end, hungry kids in Calgary schools were among the winners.

Krivak and Hale are both involved in Calgary’s oil and gas industry. Krivak is the Vice-President of Strategic Development for Data Scavenger, a company that provides cloud-based information sharing to the oil and gas sector. His partner, Hale, is founder of seismic data specialist Reservoir Imaging Inc. The two met a few years ago during the Calgary Stampede’s annual chuckwagon canvas auction.

“We’d been involved with buying chuck tarps jointly for several years,” Krivak says. “We had seen a trend toward the winning bidders then parceling race nights off to corporations. We decided to leverage that, set a flat fee and donate the profits to charity.”

The initiative was clearly an idea with a lot of support. In 2013, Hale and Krivak set up the Brakemen Foundation as the umbrella for their charitable endeavour.

Krivak says there are two guiding principles behind the Brakemen Foundation’s philanthropic decisions. First, the foundation focuses on children in need. “We feel sometimes kids don’t have choices. Sometimes they are forced into situations by the cruelties of the world. We want to help those who are missing the ‘have-to-haves’ rather than the ‘nice-to-haves.’” Second, local needs take priority: “We focus on our backyard.”

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids dovetails perfectly with those priorities, and so the Brakemen Foundation made a $40,000 contribution to the charity late last year.

“It’s staggering to me how many kids are going without lunch at school, in a city with so much wealth,” Krivak says. “We really like the idea of feeding those kids, so it’s a relationship we definitely see continuing. The support has been great from corporate Calgary.”

So has the appreciation from Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids and the young Calgarians who benefit from the healthy lunches it provides each day.

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