Calgary lunch program expands operations to community delivery

A Calgary lunch program for low income kids is adapting its services by delivering some lunches to communities and into people's homes.

New programs were started in the spring to make sure kids and families were fed

Brown bagging is back for Calgary's kids

CBC News Calgary

4 months agoVideo
The in-school food program learned a lot since this spring and had to think outside the box when school's closed in March. 1:51

A Calgary lunch program for low income kids is adapting its services by delivering some lunches to communities and into people's homes.

Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids says it learned a lot since this spring and had to think outside the box when schools closed.

"We had an opportunity to connect with families we were feeding and learn how best they could receive that support," said Bethany Ross, director of operations.

"We ended up implementing a couple different programs in the spring, like providing grocery gift cards directly to families and meals in the community that families could pick up."

Now, as the program returns to schools, she says these new initiatives will still continue, which not only helps kids in the classroom but also in their homes.

Bethany Ross, director of operations, says Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids started new programs when the pandemic hit to make sure kids and families were fed. (Nassima Way/CBC)

"We learned a lot through those programs. So now as we head back into school and whatever this school year brings, which we know is full of excitement and uncertainty, we are preparing to feed kids in schools and return to that work and also to feed kids in their homes and community," she said.

Brown Bagging for Calgary's Kids feeds about 5,000 kids daily — which is all paid for through donated funds.

"It costs a lot to do this work and to provide really nutritious food that kids will enjoy eating, and to feed a lot of kids," she said.

'Kids are our future'

Mindy Selby says she thinks her volunteer work in the kitchen translates directly to kids' outcomes.

"The kids are our future, and you never know which one of those kids are a going to be an Einstein or a superstar … and if they're not given the basic opportunity to do that, then we'll never know," she said.

Mindy Selby, a volunteer, says she has helped the in-school food program for the past four years. (Nassima Way/CBC)

Selby also ensures each meal provided is nutritious and that there is a certain amount of protein, dairy and greens in each package.

"I try to send extra toward the end of the week so they can take it home, but it's important for their learning, and from what I understand, they don't get enough fresh produce."

"For me, to be able to give them a little bit more than they otherwise would get of good, solid, healthy food, I feel is a good deed."

With files from Helen Pike, Nassima Way and Monty Kruger


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