What we Do
BB4CK works in partnership with Calgary schools to make and deliver free healthy lunches for students who would otherwise go hungry.
Through the work of community groups and volunteers, we provide lunches for approximately 4,200 kids each school day. Lunches are prepared in our main kitchen, and in various other locations by community groups including retirees, parent groups and local businesses.
Nourishment is available to any young person who arrives at school without enough to eat. BB4CK works with school staff members to identify needs and to plan how best to make sure hungry students get the nutrition required to think clearly and learn. By enabling better education outcomes, BB4CK gives students a hand up, not just a handout.
$2 to feed a child
Each lunch costs an average of $2 to make and deliver, thanks to the help of our in-kind partners. These partners include the Calgary Italian Bakery, Sysco Canada, Calgary Food Bank and Mountain Meadows Food Processing.
Thousands of volunteers
The work of thousands of caring volunteers alongside our small and dedicated staff means contributions go directly toward feeding hungry kids. So when an individual or corporation makes a donation of any size, the impact is easy to calculate and the effect is immediate.
For each dollar we receive, BB4CK can make and deliver a healthy lunch to one child. Despite our name, there are actually no brown bags. We stopped using brown paper lunch bags several years ago, to reduce waste and make it less obvious which kids were receiving our lunches. Today, all our lunches are packed into large bins. Each bin contains all the components a school needs for the number of lunches it has requested. A side benefit of this change is flexibility to meet various needs. For example, some kids need a full meal, while others require a supplement to an inadequate lunch. We aim to provide variety along with nutrition. Each lunch we deliver contains a healthy sandwich made with fresh bread. Ingredients include cheese, ham, turkey, tuna, egg salad or peanut-free “pea butter” and jam. We also include vegetables and fruit, and a snack such as yogurt or homemade cookies. Each item carries a high nutritional value and either meets or exceeds the Canadian health recommendations.
When did BB4CK start?
A group of volunteers originally started providing lunches to kids who were going hungry in 1990, under the umbrella of a different organization. In 2002, BB4CK was developed as an independent charitable organization.
How do kids enroll in a Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids lunch program?
Families in need are encouraged to approach their child’s school if they need help feeding their children lunch. If there is no existing lunch program in place, we work with school staff to start a BB4CK program. If a school has a BB4CK program, school staff may identify that a child is going without enough to eat and the child can be added to the program and begin receiving lunches. Our goal is to reach out to all Calgary schools to ensure they know about BB4CK and receive assistance if needed. Ultimately, we want to ensure there are no hungry kids in Calgary!
How many schools does BB4CK operate lunch programs in?
We currently work with more than 220 schools. We partner with about 2/3 of the schools in Calgary and work across public, Catholic and private school boards. About 40% of these schools are cared for by our downtown kitchen while community groups care for the other 60% of these schools.
What does BB4CK do?
BB4CK feeds hungry kids. We are actively working to address food insecurity in our city and end childhood hunger. We currently provide food for over 4,200 kids in more than 220 schools across Calgary every school day.
Is BB4CK a registered charity?
Yes. Charitable number is 890458417RR0001. We can provide tax receipts for donations over $10.00, and donations can be made online at www.bb4ck.org/donate-now.
Are there any requirements for children to be a part of a BB4CK program?
We are a no barrier program. If a child is arriving at school without enough to eat, we make sure they are fed. It’s that simple. We don’t look at family income or select based on any demographics. Some children only receive lunches for a few days or weeks and some for the entire school year, depending on their situation.
Where does BB4CK get its funding from?
100% of our funding comes from community – from individuals and companies who write cheques, groups that hold an event or do a fundraiser, and from kids who bring in their birthday money. We have no government contracts or large funders that carry our operations and rely completely on the support of our generous community.
What is the benefit of kids receiving BB4CK lunches?
Kids that receive lunches show increased school participation, attendance rates, and grades. Kids who are not hungry feel better about themselves and have the energy to be kids! Lunches also act as a tool for connection. Kids who receive lunches often form bonds with the adults providing food – and in many cases this is the only positive adult relationship present in their lives.
How does BB4CK account for allergies that kids may have?
Our downtown kitchen is absolutely nut-free! We use “pea butter”, a peanut butter alternative. Any other food allergies or concerns are accommodated to the best of our ability, by the variety of lunches offered.
Does the lunch program only run during school months?
For the most part yes, we make lunches from September to June. However, our team continues to serve kids during the summer months through various community projects.
Where does BB4CK get its food?
The majority of our food is purchased using donations provided by the community. This helps ensure we can provide fresh, healthy, and consistent lunches for kids. At our downtown kitchen, we have food partners who support this with discounts. We also have a great relationship with The Calgary Food Bank, who provides donated food weekly.
What grades does BB4CK provide lunches to?
We provide lunches to kids from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
How many volunteers does BB4CK have?
We are supported by over 600 volunteers weekly. Those interested in signing up can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is in a lunch and how much do lunches cost to make?
Each lunch costs an average of $2.00 to make and deliver. Lunches from our downtown kitchen consist of a sandwich, fruit, veggies, a snack, and a yogurt. Community groups make something similarly healthy and filling. Each lunch is made and delivered by a volunteer, with more than 600 volunteers giving their time each week.
What is the benefit of a BB4CK Community Group?
The kids that receive the lunches from people in the community have said that, “They can feel that their sandwiches are made with love.” The community volunteers have said, “By doing this they have felt more part of their community than they have in years.”
What are Community Groups and how do they work?
BB4CK funds and supports more than 35 community groups that operate outside of our downtown kitchen, making lunches in their own communities and delivering them to neighborhood schools. These groups include senior residences, schools, businesses, community associations, and service clubs and groups.
Does BB4CK have staff?
Yes, we have 14 full time and part time staff members.