August 19, 2014

Avoiding Allergens

The peabutter story

Volunteers spending their first shift in the Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids kitchen can be forgiven for being a bit confused when they hear the term “peabutter” being tossed around.

“Are you saying ‘peanut butter’?” some will ask. But no — because of the severity of some kids’ peanut allergies, BB4CK does not use peanut butter. The tasty spread used on almost 25% of the sandwiches made in the kitchen is NoNuts Golden Peabutter. It’s an Alberta product that, like many innovations, was discovered almost by accident.

“The inventor of peabutter, Joe St. Denis, was looking for a variety of field pea that could be used to manufacture hummus,” says Caryll Carruthers, president of Mountain Meadows Food Processing. “In the process, he developed a product that tasted more like peanut butter.”

The end result is that Mountain Meadows, located north of Edmonton, supplies the peabutter used by BB4CK — about 650 kilograms, or well over half a tonne, each year.

“It is very satisfying manufacturing a nutritious product, with none of the top allergens, that lets children enjoy a substitute for their favourite peanut butter sandwich,” Carruthers says.

Keeping those allergens at bay is a top priority for Mountain Meadows. “Peabutter is the only product we produce in our facility, which is free from peanuts, tree nuts, soy, gluten and the rest of the top allergens — so there isn’t any danger of cross-contamination.”

Carruthers says her company is proud of its five-year record of working with Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.

“We started dealing with BB4CK in 2009. We were very impressed with the program that had been set up in Calgary with mainly volunteer participation, and we’re pleased to be part of it.”

July 3, 2014

Some good advice


May 6, 2014

Chartwell Retirement Residents work to feed Calgary’s Kids and to inspire others

We here at BB4CK love to see the amazing efforts our community volunteers are making to feed Calgary’s kids. Please check out the Chartwell Retirement Residence newsletter article on their work. There are now 3 out of the 5 residences collaborating with BB4CK 🙂


[Calgary, Alberta] In 2012, residents at Chartwell Harbours heard about the shocking number of children in Calgary who were going without lunches on a daily basis. They knew they needed to work together to help out their community, eliminate barriers and empower students to learn and excel.

After some research and brainstorming, residents connected with the Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids Program (BB4CK) and quickly began making and delivering healthy lunches for students who would otherwise go hungry. Nearly two years later, the program has prepared over 9069 lunches with the help of a number of loyal residents twice a week. From packaging the bags and delivering them to neighborhood schools, residents are taking charge and creating lasting social change.

“It’s a small but meaningful way of giving back,” says Stacey Senger, Marketing and Community Relations Manager at Chartwell Harbours. “Knowing that we can directly impact the life of a child and improve it in some way is an incredibly powerful motivator for everyone engaged in this initiative.”

Residents are not only involved in preparing lunches, but they also hold a monthly Helping Hands Fundraiser for staff, family members and residents to contribute monetarily. Each $1 donation, symbolized with a hand or lunch bag cut-out placed on the residence wall, helps to make one lunch for a deserving child. More than $ 7500.00 has been raised, helping to ensure that every child in Calgary has access to a healthy meal each day.

A strong friendship has developed with the schools and students on the receiving end of this program, with some residents even knitting mittens for the children in the cold winter months. “It’s not just about giving them a handout,” says Nancy Hall, resident at Chartwell Harbours. “It’s about giving them a hand up, enabling them to think clearly, and providing them with the best possible outcome.”

This initiative is part of Chartwell’s vocational signature program entitled H.O.P.E (Helping Others for Purposeful Engagement.) The program aims to connect residents with their community and surrounding neighborhoods by giving back and promoting a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in their lives.

 For more information, please contact:

Stacey Senger, Marketing and Community Relations Manager

(403) 295-2919 |

April 29, 2014

BB4CK honoured by ‘Calgary’s Child’ publisher


Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids was honoured recently by an organization that works hard to promote the importance of healthy kids and strong communities. BB4CK has received a Calgary’s Child Magazine Publisher’s Award of Distinction, a top honour that’s part of the magazine’s Parents’ Choice Awards.

“We have been very, very impressed with this organization’s work for many years,” says Calgary’s Child founder and publisher Ellen Percival.

While the bulk of the Parents’ Choice Award recipients are selected via voting by readers of the popular bimonthly magazine, the Publisher’s Awards of Distinction are determined by Percival herself. The awards recognize organizations that encourage, educate and empower families in Calgary.

“Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids is grassroots — filling empty tummies is very important and direct,” Percival says. “We’ve heard so much from recipients and from schools about what a difference it has made, and is continuing to make. Our kids are our future, and when their needs are met our community is stronger.”

BB4CK executive director Tanya Koshowski says recognition from somebody whose work focuses on connecting with families is an honour.

“Ellen knows the heartbeat of Calgary families,” Koshowski says. “She knows her audience. Some of them are families who need us, and some are families who have helped us. So this says a lot about our reputation. It’s very meaningful, and we are humbled.”

The award belongs to all the people across the city who work every day in schools and community groups as well as the BB4CK kitchen to make the program effective — to feed hungry kids in Calgary schools so they can be healthy, learn and build a better future for themselves and the community, she says.

The award was presented April 29 during a luncheon ceremony at Heritage Park. Winners and honourees were named in more than 45 categories. Read the full list here.

BB4CK was in highly respected company in receiving the 2014 Publisher’s Award of Distinction — fellow recipients were Inn From the Cold and the Calgary Food Bank.

Founded in 1994, Calgary’s Child is celebrating its 20th year of publication. Visit its website.

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