“I don’t even know these guys but I love them.”
Located one block east of Macleod Trail in SE Calgary is Jerome’s Appliance Gallery, a luxury appliance retailer. Their Bistro features two fully functional kitchens, and a group of people passionate about taking action to end hunger in our city.
Once a week Devon, Jerome’s Accounting Manager, and Kristen, Jerome’s Bistro Specialist, prepare lunches for students at West View School at Calgary Youth Attendance Centre (CYAC), located only a few blocks away. Jerome’s purchases all the food for the lunches and Kristen shares her amazing cooking skills to create an array of delectable meals.
“Food is medicine; food is what makes our bodies work properly, what is better than giving kids a proper start with whole food?”
“On Wednesdays I come into work early,” shares Kristen, “I have all my groceries and ingredients and I like to do a lot of baking too so I come in early and make cookies, muffins, things that are healthy and whole foods but still appeal to teenagers. I’ll get everything prepped, Devon will come in and we will cook for about 16 people or so, sandwiches, wraps, baked goods, pizzas, soups, chili, whatever we make that day we make it all from scratch that morning and have it ready to go for lunch.” Kristen continues, “It’s so easy to take time out of your day for something like this, for something so simple you can make a huge difference. Food is medicine; food is what makes our bodies work properly, what is better than giving kids a proper start with whole food? You’re supporting their systems as they grow, supporting their brains, it’s everything, we’re trying to give them a better start, a better base to go on.”
“West View School at Calgary Youth Attendance Centre (CYAC) is a small, personalized school that provides opportunities for justice-engaged youth to explore career possibilities and complete a high school diploma. Two dedicated, veteran Calgary Board of Education teachers, supported by Solicitor General staff, deliver curricula, provide trades and career opportunities, and mentor youth,” shares West View Program Teacher Mary-Lynn. “Around 10:00 a.m., our students start asking, ‘What’s for lunch today?’ When we say it’s coming from Jerome’s, so it’s a surprise, they start to guess with each other what it might be. We love getting food from Jerome’s. This is a high-impact community builder. We have long said that youth will come for the food, but stay for the education. We are grateful that Jerome’s makes the menu interesting and healthy for our students.”
The Jerome’s team is an amazing supporter of the BB4CK community. In addition to their community group, the Jerome’s community has planned and supported fundraisers, volunteered in the kitchen, and participated as a summer Food Finder site. “When you’re thinking about supporting a charity, look local, support your own community, support people, your friends, coworkers, neighbours. If you donate money you know where that money is going, if you donate time, you are able to see what that time creates and where it goes,” says Devon. “Donating your time too is such a different feeling knowing you can do these things and make a positive impact on somebody’s life. Support a local charity that you can invest a lot into. It’s very rewarding.”
“These kids could be my son’s friends, his classmates…”
“Having a child myself really made me feel connected to the cause and made me feel these kids could be my son’s friends, his classmates, they could be his teammates and those kids are going without things we take for granted so much, it hit home for me,” says Devon. “It’s such a small thing for us to do and it makes such a big difference for the kids, which I think is what makes BB4CK such a great cause.”
Stockings Filled with Love and Care
The connection Jerome’s has created with West View at CYAC has led to more than lunches. “Last Christmas we decided to put together some stockings for the students,” shares Devon. “Kristen and I went out on a little mission, we went to the dollar store, to Tim Hortons, and we loaded the stockings full. Every kid wants to get candy and chocolate in their stockings so we got that but we also incorporated the things they would need like toiletries, toques, gloves, mitts, socks, things they’d need working outside, since a lot of them are going into the trades. We thought about what they would really like and also really need and we put it all together into a stocking, we hand decorated the stockings with their names in glitter pens and delivered them along with the lunches that day. Just to see their expressions and gratitude they felt, it was emotional and made it all worth it.”
“As we were driving back, I turned to Devon and said, “I don’t even know these guys but I love them.” They were so excited and so grateful, watching them open the stockings and look at everything, and just seeing their eyes light up was my emotional moment,” shares Kristen.
Learn more about getting your business involved here.