MEET FRAN WONG.
Clocking in more than 25 years as a Food Bank volunteer, Fan Wong was one of the first volunteers to help in the Calgary Food Bank’s Baby Room — a distribution hub for diapers, formula and jarred baby food.
“The bottom line is helping,” Fran said. “Even if it’s on a temporary basis, it’s a good feeling to know that you’ve helped.”
As a young girl, Fran said her family suffered through many hardships, including poverty and alcoholism. This, she added, made making ends meet hard but despite her family’s hardships, her mother always found a way to help those less fortunate than them. It’s for reasons like this that Fran said volunteering is such an important part of her life and why the Baby Room has become so close to her heart.
Fran remembers when the Baby Room was just a corner of the distribution area at the old Food Bank location on Flint Road. The City of Calgary and the Food Bank have grown significantly since she started her volunteer work in the 1980s, and so has the Baby Room. Since she started volunteering, the Baby Room has grown from a four-volunteer team, to a 32 volunteer team working various shifts during the week to provide all the baby necessities to families in need.
Over time, the demand for Baby Room items has grown. In 2014, the Calgary Food Bank included diapers for children under three years old in more than 10,000 hampers.
Babies are important to Fran and the Calgary Food Bank. We do what we can to make sure that diapers are included in food hampers. There is a catch, though. The Food Bank cannot purchase non-food items for distribution, and diapers are not part of our legal mandate as a food bank. We request them as a donated items because we know that if parents are food insecure, they are likely insecure about other household necessities, like diapers.
As part of her weekly volunteer shift, Fran organizes donations, locates client baby hampers and bags diapers. She sees firsthand that there is a very serious need, especially for uncommon sizes and toddlers.
“The community doesn’t realize that there is a need for bigger sizes,” said Fran. “When we think of babies, we think of the littlest ones, and we really do need sizes 5 and 6 as well.”
How to help
You can drop off a package of new or opened diapers at any of the following locations for the Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive:
- Calgary Food Bank – 5000 11 Street SE
- CBC Calgary – 1724 Westmount Drive NW
- Dr For Moms Chiropractic and Family Wellness Center – 4616 Valiant Dr NW (Until May 10)
- West Coast Kids (North) – 11610 Sarcee Trail NW
- West Coast Kids (South) – 130-71ST Avenue SE
- Calgary Farmers’ Market – 510 77th Avenue SE (Until May 10)
- Glamorgan Bakery – #19, 3919 Richmond Road SW
- Brilliant Beginnings (Hillhurst) – 207A-19 St NW (Until May 10)
- Brilliant Beginnings (West Springs) – #43, 8 Weston Drive SW (Until May 10)
- Trico Centre – 11150 Bonaventure Dr SE
- The Calgary Zoo – 1300 Zoo Rd NE (Mother’s Day Weekend)
- Shoppers Drug Mart – Unit 700, 151 Walden Gate SE
- Kids U – McKnight – 5220 4 St. NE
- Kids U – Bridgeland – 985 McPherson RD (Until May 10)
- Stir Crazy – 3355 Sunridge Way NE
- Vivo (Cardel Place) – 11950 Country Village Link NE
- Mount Royal University Child Care Centre – 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW