In July and August, I observe something different in our hamper distribution area where individuals and families pick up emergency food hampers. It’s the children – there are so many more than we see at other times of the year. Usually, the older ones are in school during my work hours, but for the summer months, they often come with their families. It’s a powerful and visual reminder that approximately 40% of the people you support through the Calgary Food Bank are children.
As donors, you have always shared your deep commitment to ensuring Calgary’s children do not go hungry. Your support has helped the Calgary Food Bank nourish all families who come through our doors and it has also given us the opportunity to undertake a number of initiatives with the food security of children in mind. For one, we have joined a collaborative group whose mission statement is ‘to improve the collective impact for students by collaborating and coordinating nutrition support in Calgary schools’. Members of this group include both school boards, Alberta Health Services, Meals on Wheels, Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, Breakfast Clubs of Canada and Breakfast for Learning. Through our partnerships, we are:
- Gathering and sharing data
- Providing funding and fundraising advice
- Sharing nutrition and health information
- Streamlining the provision of programs in schools and avoiding duplication
- Ensuring a quick and effective response to need
- Providing program support to each other, for example:
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary is now accessing our agency Food Link program to a greater degree
- Effectively managing multiple food programs in one school. For example, in one school you may see:
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary providing breakfast and snacks
- Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids providing lunches
- The Calgary Food Bank providing children with food items for weekends (WAM program)
- Destroying myths
- Recognizing childhood hunger is city-wide, not located in particular communities or quadrants
This collaborative is one way in which we support schools and children experiencing food insecurity. With your help, we will continue to do all that we can. Thank you.