What We are Learning:

In 2020, through to 2021, as part of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we gave grocery cards to families with kids learning from home. This allowed us to connect directly to families and learn what their needs were and how we could support.

We’ve learned so much from supporting these families and continue to invest our time in understanding our role in the food insecurity spectrum and how we can make a greater impact for kids.

The grocery cards we supplied to families in 2020 and 2021, positively impacted many areas of their lives; from improving parent and caregivers’ mental health to providing more choice when grocery shopping to buying food their kids loved.

When we asked participants, “What difference do these cards make in your life?”, we received a variety of responses. The most common themes were:

Mental Health: 94% of caregivers felt less stress about providing food for their children; and 92% felt more confident and had increased self-esteem regarding their ability to care for their children.

Physical Health: 57% of participants said they could buy healthier foods; 12% of participants specifically spoke of the impact the grocery cards had on their physical health and nutrition.

Community Support: 31% of participants had never accessed emergency-food-assistance supports prior to this program, and BB4CK was their first contact in receiving such supports.

Money: 29% of respondents specifically mentioned money, with the majority sharing that the grocery cards created a positive impact on their budgets.

Dignity & Choice: 22% of participants mentioned "Choice" as a positive impact of the program; 17% said they could buy more culturally appropriate foods.

Equipped with this knowledge and information, we launched the FOR TO WITH (FTW) pilot program throughout 2022 and 2023.

We recognize that community members know best what supports they require to thrive. Our unique Moving From “For” to “With” (FTW) project, invited families in our community to participate in engagement opportunities where they could share their lived experience and help design future programs to increase capacity for the sector and provide dignified, trauma-informed programming to address food insecurity in Calgary.

This participant-led, 12-month pilot program focused on creating a program best suited to community member needs and was based on community feedback.

The FTW program provided consistent income support for 50 families for 12-months, required participants to complete monthly surveys about food practices and experiences as recipients of support, and had a Peer Advisory Council (PAC), conformed by families, who advised BB4CK on how to better deliver community programs.

The FTW program is now complete. We are compiling our learnings to share with our community, our sector and our partners, with the hope of inspiring others to adopt participatory approaches when delivering community programs.


Stress Levels and Food Insecurity

Since the beginning of the FTW program in 2022, to its completion in 2023, the number of families who reported high perceived stress, decreased from 18 families to 4 families. This was a 77% decrease.


“The grocery gift cards take away that stress of me worrying that we don’t have food in the fridge for my kids to eat. I feel good knowing my kids had breakfast and can take a lunch to school and that we can actually make dinners.



“Absolutely. We aren’t stressing over every little price and what we have to put back once we get to the till.”


“Yes, a lot. I am not as stressed about providing for my kids or how I’m going to manage to pull off keeping food on my table along with paying the bills and rent. It also gives us the ability to go somewhere fun together and spend some “family time”, like this month I am able to take my kids to see the new Mario movie. It’s been years since I’ve been able to afford to go to the movie theater.”