Hunger doesn’t take a holiday and unfortunately some students who rely on breakfast or lunch programs at school may not receive the same food access during their summer break.
So every year a number of child and youth servicing agencies plus organizations that work to address the root causes of food insecurity, come together to help alleviate childhood hunger in the summer. But more importantly, connect their families to services available in the community. If there is hunger in the home, it is not isolated to one child and may be a symptom of other issues.
“We know that food can start a conversation,’ says Calgary Fod Bank’s Carly Schmidt. “We can start by saying, hey, did you forget your lunch today? Here’s a sandwich…were you in a hurry this morning? Do you have food at home to make a lunch? This sort of dialogue can help identify what the child, and the family needs. When you have a strong network of people and organizations that can connect with the food, then have the conversations, we can ensure that the whole family is getting the help they need.”
Through our Food Link program, thousands of pounds of food and resources are to distributed to local agencies who work with vulnerable children and youth. For example, last summer the Awo Taan Healing Lodge Society made three meals-a-day for 400 children; and the Cornerstone Youth Centre made nearly 500 meals a week for eight weeks. Outside of the school year Community Kitchen’s Tummy Tamers provide lunches and snacks to children through the City of Calgary’s Park ‘n Play day camps in low-income communities. Brown Bagging For Calgary Kids is another organization that helps fill the gap. Every July and August, their volunteers make hundreds of sandwiches that are sent to some of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Calgary summer day camps.
“We can support youth who are otherwise underfed and needing support” Cornerstone Youth Centre
Working together towards a hunger-free community is truly our mission in action!
Make sure to check out Food Finder YYC. This app connects Calgary’s kids and teens with nearby food resources, ensuring they do not go hungry during the summer and school holidays. A great example of collaboration in Calgary!