When it comes to connecting students to charities for some hands-on learning, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids is a perfect fit for the Grade 10 classes at Calgary Academy.
In fact, the connection is so strong it extends beyond the students — Grade 10 humanities teacher Poonam Grewal has herself become an avid BB4CK supporter and donor.
It all started with a student leadership group visit to the BB4CK kitchen during the 2009-10 school year. “It just took off from there,” Grewal says. “Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids was the ideal organization, because they wanted 10 to 15 kids as volunteers, and that’s exactly what we had.”
At Calgary Academy, an independent school in southwest Calgary with about 600 students in grades 2 to 12, Grade 10 students participate each year in an initiative called the Altruism Project. Each of the five Grade 10 homerooms runs a small business project for a week, with all the money raised going to charity. After visiting six different charities, the students have chosen BB4CK every year, most recently donating $2,400 to help feed hungry kids.
Realizing that many Calgary students around their own age are coming to school without lunch is a surprise and a strong motivator for the students, Grewal says.
“I think it is shocking for a lot of kids. You don’t think this is something that impacts where you live. For the kids, it’s one of their most memorable experiences.”
The fact that a BB4CK lunch only costs about a dollar seals the deal. “They know right away the impact. They see it.”
The effectiveness of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids hit home with Grewal herself as well. “I thought, ‘If these kids can have such an impact, why can’t I?’ I began making donations. It’s an organization where your involvement has direct impact and you can see it every day.”
Grewal’s determination to help feed hungry kids is an inspiration, says Wendy Treschel, BB4CK’s Volunteer and Administration Coordinator.
“Over the years, Poonam has really developed a relationship with BB4CK, and has been able to be involved in a variety of ways,” Treschel says. “Her passion for helping to ensure kids in Calgary have a healthy lunch is infectious.”
For Grewal, inspiration comes from seeing the far-reaching impact of helping others.
“Being a teacher, it just makes me feel warm and happy inside to know that through my own donations or students volunteering, we can help a child sit up at his desk and learn. It’s hard to learn when you’re hungry.”
Kids Impacted Daily
People Volunteering Weekly
Partners and Donors