We are often inspired by the generosity of youth in our community and we recently had the opportunity to meet Leadership student Brandon, who was working on his project: One Good Deed.
His teacher challenged them to think of one good deed that would make a difference in the community. “So I thought about doing something for Calgary,” Brandon explained. “I’m already training to be a lifeguard. So I do my good deed each time I get into the water. But I didn’t think that was enough.”
“I remembered watching a show about food going to waste and how so many people need food. There are people in our country who are starving, there are many who are food insecure. What this means is that people are giving up food to pay rent, utilities, medications and other things like transportation, or even school fees. There is really no reason why, in a first world country like Canada, we should be having anyone go hungry or having to make these decisions, between food or a place to live, or medications. These items are rights, not privileges, that everyone should have.”
“I knew I could make a difference by helping the food bank. I talked to my mom about it and did some research. I learned that the food bank can get more food with money than I can buying the food myself. I know (there are) families with special dietary needs so you often need to buy stuff. So I decided to collect toonies. Every kid has a toonie laying around. I decided it would be cool to try to raise $200 and that seemed like a reasonable amount to aim for. The total raised was $397.70!” Amazing!
This past December, Brandon asked our CEO, James McAra, some great questions and here is their conversation:
Brandon: How many people can be helped with $397.70
James: The money you raised will help at least five families with enough food that meets Canada’s Food Guide for everyone in those families for seven days. If they are all typical families (4 in a household) then this would be more than 20 people.
Brandon: How many volunteers come to help at the food bank each day?
James: On average there are more than 160 volunteers that share their time with the Food Bank every day.
Brandon: What is the best way for children to help?
James: Children can help by understanding that their friends and other children are not weak or poor just because their family needed some help. Children can also encourage their friends and families to take time to volunteer in the community.
Brandon: Is it better for an individual to donate cash or canned goods?
James: Cash, tinned goods, and time (food, funds and time) are all equally important. One is not better than another; we need them all to share food.
Brandon: What inspired you to get into this line of work?
James: I started working in not-for-profit with sport and sports teams. Over time I found that I wanted to help people succeed in whatever they dream. At the Food Bank I found a role that helps the community and I love doing that.
Brandon: Is there anything you can tell us that would inspire others to get involved?
James: A Food Bank volunteer I met 17 years ago told me “always err on the side of compassion”. Claudia really guided me to remember that no matter what we do, we can all make a difference and make our city great for everyone.
Brandon: As a young leader myself is there anything I should know to point me forward?
James: As a young leader you have already started on a journey that will inspire. Others will look to you for ideas and you have to trust others to take their turn as leaders when you get tired. It is a shared responsibility. I always think of Miss Frizzle and The Magic School Bus: “Get messy, make mistakes, and learn something”.
Brandon, thank you for all that you do and please enjoy your journey. We can all accomplish anything we set our minds to and we can all make sure we give it our best. Like your teacher said, you have done an amazing thing, and helped so many people.