May 3, 2018

The Gift of Time

We’re sitting in the entrance hallway of the BB4CK kitchen after Val and Lisa have returned from their route delivering lunches. They’re both dressed in blue and match the Loud Art Society mural behind them wonderfully, “it’s so colourful here, it’s one of the things that first drew us in” remarks Val as Lisa agrees and adds, “there is a special energy as you walk down this hallway, and it just opens up into the kitchen. It’s lovely.” The two women share how that feeling was one of the things they remember about first visiting the kitchen during Doors Open YYC last September – that and the black bean brownies.

Val and Lisa have known each other for 25-ish years and started volunteering together delivering lunches last fall. “Our husbands are best friends” Val shares, “with our children being out and on their own Lisa and I really felt we suddenly had too much time on our hands. We wanted something to do that was socially conscious, we wanted to volunteer and quite honestly we didn’t know who to go to.” The two discovered Mealshare and through them, learned more about BB4CK.

“We talked about volunteering for quite some time and here it just felt right to the core. The little amount of time it takes to go deliver lunches and the reciprocal feeling of giving is really a gift for us. It is such a kind gift,” says Lisa. Val jumps in, adding, “it’s like when the Grinch feels his heart grow three sizes that day, every day,” the duo erupts into joyful laughter that fills the hallway, “That’s what we get from it. You feel it in your heart!”

Not only do Val and Lisa deliver lunches each week, they have made their volunteer time a social event and introduced many of their friends to BB4CK and delivering lunches. “We live in separate quadrants of the city, so we could go months without actually seeing each other and now I get the pleasure of getting to see Val every single Tuesday. It’s something I really look forward to,” says Lisa as Val nods her head in agreement, “we get to catch up each week and chat as we drive all over the city. We have about an hour of driving together,” shares Val.

“I’ve got a really great community of women around me and I think that it’s really important to share your experience. Awareness is everything, people may not know about BB4CK or Mealshare and it’s about getting the word out,” says Val. The group now bring a number of friends volunteering with them and always end their morning off by going out for lunch together to a new Mealshare restaurant every Tuesday, “it’s become very festive, very familiar.” Establishing that familiarity through friends can play a large part in breaking down any barriers a new volunteer may feel. “Sometimes when I want to go do something I get stopped by an overwhelming feeling of unfamiliarity, a little bit of hesitation, and a little bit of just not knowing where to help or go. Once Val got to know Mealshare and we connected at Doors Open, BB4CK became familiar and any hesitation disappeared since it was Val and I volunteering together. Donating your time is one thing, and wrapping you head around it, but implementing and executing it is the next step and it really makes it easy knowing I was with my friend. Once its familiar you’re just like c’mon guys, let’s all do this!” shares Lisa. “Exactly! You don’t know why everyone isn’t volunteering. I always felt I was so busy, now I feel like this is absolutely part of our routine,” adds Val.

“Volunteering to drive lunches is such a small part and small amount of time yet the gift that it gives back is so exponential and it touches many lives. It is a gift that provides so many lessons too. You can be downstairs waiting for the lunches, and they are a little late and you might find yourself thinking that you’d like to hurry up and get going. Then you go upstairs to the kitchen and you see everything that happened before you to get those lunches to your car and you realize that you’re part of something way bigger. It really helps you put things in perspective. This is a community thing, people are making these lunches with love. People are coming together in the community and this love is being bagged and boxed and it’s going out to the kids.” shares Lisa. “When I drop lunches off at a school, I put the bin on a desk and that might be all I am seeing, however there are lots of lunches in that bin providing for so many children who we don’t get to see and that’s part of the story. You do not visually have to see that. You just know.”

“We’re feeding hungry kids. That’s huge. That impacts you. I’ve never felt hunger, and my children haven’t, and it’s been a big eye-opener to an issue that I didn’t even know existed in our city, and it’s so prevalent. It’s so worth it to be involved in feeding hungry kids. Give it a shot, it’s a small commitment with a big impact. We can all volunteer for something like this,” urges Val, “the more you give back, the happier you are!”

Learn more about becoming a volunteer driver here!

May 2, 2018

Delivering Lunches with North Hill Mazda

North Hill Mazda has been supporting BB4CK by delivering lunches to Calgary kids since September of 2016. Leading the cause at North Hill is Lindsey Allen, who after learning about BB4CK through social media in 2015 was determined to get herself and her team involved. “I was really curious about BB4CK and volunteered in the kitchen in the spring of 2016. I knew right there and then that I wanted to get work involved. It took a while to figure out what we were going to do, then we heard you needed drivers and we were like “Ah ha! That’s how we can do it!” This is super easy for us. We’ve got cars.”

Each Thursday morning the members of the North Hill team drive into the BB4CK parking garage and load up a Mazda from their dealership with bins of sandwiches, fruits, veggies, and snacks for hungry Calgary kids. “It’s so easy to help. I come in early to work to do this; I quickly go grab a car and head over to BB4CK. I pull up at BB4CK, get the lunches, then drive through downtown and hit the first school (usually the same school). I go in, say hello to the office staff, switch the bins, put the empty bin in the car and continue on to the next school. We typically visit five more schools, it is usually pretty quick and everyone is grateful. We drive back to the kitchen, unload the empty bins, visit with the kitchen staff and it’s a really good time. I think it’s only like 30 km every week for us, which is not much,” says Lindsey. The kilometers have begun to help tell the story of North Hill Mazda’s volunteer experience. With each week’s route, North Hill shares great photos and videos on social media with the hashtag #KmsForBB4CK.

“The fact that some kids go without food pulls on our heartstrings – knowing the outcome of us delivering lunches, going into the schools, being physically in their world, seeing the kids, and thinking maybe that kid right there is going to get the lunch you dropped off, that’s huge,” says Lindsey.

“We support Ronald McDonald House and Kids Up Front as well and when I bring our GM causes like this, he’s like “How can we help? What do you need?” At North Hill Mazda, we try not to be your standard auto dealer. We try to be very much in the community, we’re associated with so many children’s charities because it resonates with us and it’s where we want to put our energy. We are completely committed to being in the community and helping to build the community,“ Lindsay shares. “With BB4CK, it’s hungry kids. The impact stories we hear, the change in kids, are exactly why we do this.”

May 1, 2018

Anaya and Eden

Anaya and EdenWhen Anaya was six she learned that there were kids who went to her school who didn’t have a lunch, and she felt sad. She thought about times she’d been hungry, and how someone – her parents or a teacher, perhaps – always had something to fill her stomach. It was hard for her to imagine what it would be like to be hungry all the time.

Anaya told her younger sister Eden about what she’d learned about hunger. Together with their parents, Anaya and Eden decided to do something to help. The girls gathered some money from their allowance, coming up with $18.85, and decided to give it to BB4CK. With this, they provided lunch for appx.18 kids who would’ve otherwise been hungry.

The girls didn’t stop there. At Anaya’s next birthday party, she asked guests to bring a donation to BB4CK instead of a gift. The following Valentine’s Day, the girls baked cookies & cupcakes, selling them to friends and family to raise money. It’s been three years since they got started feeding hungry kids, and Anaya and Eden show no signs of slowing down.

Together, Anaya and Eden have provided lunch for hundreds of kids who would otherwise be hungry.

This year, we invite you to match Anaya and Eden’s generosity. Please consider making a gift of $18.85 here to help ensure there are no hungry kids in our city!

April 27, 2018

BB4CK Recipe: Pea Butter Avocado Cookies

These gluten free Pea Butter Avocado Cookies from the Lean Green Bean blog are delightful! To try them for yourself you will need:

1/3 cup mashed avocado

2/3 cup peanut or pea (no nuts) butter

1 egg

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup oats

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine avocado, pea butter, egg, and honey together, mixing well.

Add oats and baking powder, mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Roll into balls and place on baking sheet, flattening cookies slightly with a fork. Bake at 350°F for 12-14 minutes.

Check out the Lean Green Bean blog for more photos!

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