April 24, 2018

Lunch Is Love… Story from a N.E. Middle School

“I have worked with the Calgary Board of Education for 37 years.

It is only since Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids began that I have witnessed the amazing change in students of all ages from a simple thing like a sandwich and a snack.

There have been students hiding at lunch so nobody sees they don’t have any food; students not attend school because they have no food for snack or lunch; students (many) who steal food from other students’ backpacks when they are pretending to go to the washroom (comes down to basic survival); students who have taken food off of teacher’s desks; many students who go home knowing they will not have anything to eat until they come back to school the next day; the list could go on and on.

I had a family that the kids had to take turns eating…whoever got a lunch did not get supper, then the next day it was the other child’s turn to have lunch, but not supper, because he had supper the day before. It is so heartbreaking to actually be with these kids, see their tears, and you try to do anything you can to change their life.

On the other side of the coin… I have had mothers come to me so thankful for feeding their children (I always tell them the story of Brown Bagging and the volunteers). I would tell them that one day they would be able to help someone in need, all they have to do is pay it forward when they were able to.  They always responded that they definitely would. A lunch changes more than a hungry tummy. I have seen such changes; previous students become the mothers of present students and they always comment on what a difference the lunches made to them and how the lunches made them feel. Many have told me they donate to the food banks because they were looked after when they were hungry.  I would suggest they donate to Brown Bagging as well. This is one way we change society for the better.

Once we were able to look after their basic need of food, we began to see the change that it made in these children. The stealing stopped; the students started coming to school regularly; students who would hide and not speak to anyone transformed into well-adjusted students that socialized with other students, talked to the adults in the building, and began learning!! Teachers could not believe the difference they saw in the classroom.

Food is one of our basic needs of life and without it, there is no learning, no socialization, and it affects the confidence of students because they feel they do not fit in – they see all the other children at lunch, happy, sitting with their friends and excited about what they have in their lunch kit.  A student without any food would never put themselves in a position to be in the lunchroom around those happy students eating lunches.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, the volunteers, and most of all the people who make it possible for Brown Bagging to exist are all unsung heroes!  You have no idea what a difference a little lunch makes to a hungry tummy. Like I said, food is such a basic need and children going to school hungry but expected to learn is a tragedy.”  – N.E. Calgary School Administrator

April 17, 2018

BB4CK Recipe: Apple Muffins

Apple MuffinsWe love making these delicious apple muffins at the BB4CK kitchen!

1 ½ cups sugar

2 eggs

1 cup oil

1 tbsp. vanilla

3 cups flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 cups diced apples (peeled and cored)

Brown sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat over to 350°F, lightly spray muffin pans with non-stick spray.

Cream together eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, mix until combined. The batter will be thick. Fold in the diced apples.

Fill muffin cups about ¾ full. Sprinkle muffin tops with brown sugar.

Bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes.

April 5, 2018

Lunch is Love… Story from a S.W. Elementary School

A lovely note from a wonderful administrator at a S.W. Elementary School:

“Our students know if they don’t have a lunch, forget a lunch, don’t have enough to eat, etc… they can approach our lunch room supervisors and get something to eat. This takes pressure off a student who might be embarrassed to ask, because the students know its okay to access the sandwiches – that is what they are there for!

Brown Bagging provides food for some students who might otherwise have nothing to eat, the students are grateful. They are able to go back to class in the afternoon and concentrate better.

Thanks SO much!  Thanks also to your volunteers who deliver our bins every Monday and Wednesday. They are always so cheerful and friendly.”

April 2, 2018

April Volunteer Spotlight – Michelle and Lorelie

Lorelie and Michelle

Meet Michelle and Lorelie, two of our incredible Thursday morning core volunteers who are always ready to lend a helping hand at the downtown kitchen!

A year ago, Michelle started volunteering at the kitchen after learning about BB4CK through a corporate group volunteer.

“I’m a “Floater” so I help wherever I’m needed; prepping, sealing, packing. Each shift, I assist with the packing table where individual school orders are packed in preparation for the arrival of our lovely drivers… all before the lunch bell rings! The “real time” impact is fulfilling. I leave the kitchen knowing that within hours, a child who would have otherwise had no lunch is enjoying a healthy meal.  A full tummy makes for a happy, engaged learner… that feels good.”

Favourite part about volunteering in the kitchen? I love the sense of community… the kitchen “vibe” is great!

Favourite lunch as a child? The snacks! My Dad used to pack creative snacks and a hand written poem on a napkin… the variety of homemade snacks at BB4CK brings back great memories.

In January 2017, Lorelie started volunteering in the BB4CK Kitchen. She spends one morning a week with us, making sandwiches or sealing sandwich bags, packing the school bins, and helping to load the bins for the volunteer drivers.

I had heard about BB4CK through my previous Calgary employer and their community volunteer program. I knew BB4CK was doing amazing work, though my first exposure was when Michelle brought me along to the downtown kitchen to help out one morning. I started coming regularly after that first day. It’s been a real joy knowing that I’m helping to make a positive difference for kids around Calgary. It was a surprise to me to see schools in my own community benefiting from the program. I know that my time is valuable and valued. It makes me feel good to work with such a wonderful organization and for a terrific cause.

Favourite part about volunteering in the kitchen? My favorite part about volunteering in the kitchen is definitely the people. The mood is always light and fun with lots of laughs; it’s a great way to start the day! Everyone in the kitchen is keen to lend a hand to help, wherever it may be required at that moment. It’s a great team and very rewarding to work together to get the job done. 

Favourite lunch as a child? My favourite lunch as a child was a bowl of hot soup with a grilled cheese sandwich on the side. I still love that today!

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