Spring 2023 Comfort Food
COMFORT FOOD | Newsletter
First Days In My Fight To End Hunger
My first few weeks at the Calgary Food Bank have been a whirlwind of discovery. From meeting many dedicated volunteers to understanding the logistics of feeding thousands of people each week, I am becoming acquainted with all of the important elements required to help fight hunger. It’s no surprise that Calgary’s main emergency food hub is a multi-faceted operation requiring a dynamic group of people and processes to address the growing need.
A critical priority for me is understanding the clients that need food support and how to help them best. This inflationary environment and ever-rising food costs have left Calgarians to face difficult choices. As we continue to see increased and unprecedented need, staff, volunteers and donors continue to step up in new and amazing ways to ensure that no one in our city goes hungry.
The need is great, but the generosity of Calgarians is greater.
National Volunteer Week which took place last month, is a time to recognize and celebrate the incredible efforts of volunteers across the country. In the spring edition of Comfort Food, we give a shoutout to Molly, one of our amazing volunteers. Molly began volunteering during the pandemic. As part of Distribution, she fills carts with a variety of fresh and frozen food. Molly also volunteers as a Hamper Delivery Driver. She says that she’s been able to deliver all over Calgary and feels really good helping people who need a little extra support. We appreciate her commitment to helping fight hunger!
Partners In Action
CALLING ALL WALKERS AND RUNNERS
For nearly six decades, the Servus Calgary Marathon has been at the forefront of running in this Canada, attracting runners from all over the world to discover Calgary. This event offers something for everyone, regardless of fitness level. This year, you can run for the Calgary Food Bank! We are an official charity, so lace up your shoes, make a plan, and register today. May 28th will be here before you know it. Find out more.
Bare Bottoms Diaper Drive
Diapers are a critical part of every baby’s life, but they come with a high cost. Babies will use more than 2,500 diapers during their first year, costing up to $1200, depending on the brand. That’s $100 a month for just diapers. This expense can quickly add up and become overwhelming for families already struggling to make ends meet.
We accept opened or unopened packages of diapers at the Calgary Food Bank or one of the Alberta Health Service Centers. People can designate their donation to purchase diapers year-round. We rely on donations of diapers and designated diaper funds to fill the more than 17,000 baby hampers distributed each year. Click here to learn more. Our brand-new event “Walk Toddle and Stroll” takes place June 3, 2023. This is a great time to grab some friends, enjoy our beautiful spring, and get our bodies back in shape for the summer. Click here to register for this fun family event.
Changes are coming to the distribution area at the Calgary Food Bank. With the federal government’s ban on single-use plastics and understanding the importance of giving clients a choice, we are altering how we distribute food. Clients can accept or decline certain items such as peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and pasta when they arrive. Reducing food waste is a significant side benefit of this change. Implementation will take place this month and we can’t wait to share the results with you in the next edition of Comfort Food.
Help Beyond Food
EASTER SEALS CAMP HORIZON
To highlight one of our community collaborators, we sat down with our long-time Food Link Partner, Easter Seal’s Camp Horizon. Taking time out of their busy day to chat with us, Marie and Mick are two of many people dedicated to providing individuals with disabilities and medical conditions with life-changing outdoor camp experiences.
Marie Miles connects passionate community members with impactful programs to ensure people with disabilities have access to the resources they need. Mick Sims is the Head Chef at Camp Horizon. As a Red Seal Chef, he is responsible for meal planning, maintaining inventory and vendor relations, and managing kitchen operations and food services.
Easter Seals Camp Horizon is a fully accessible camp located just outside Bragg Creek, Alberta. Built in 1965, Camp Horizon offers children, youth, and adults with disabilities and medical conditions subsidized five-day summer camps and respite care. Campers enjoy the opportunity to explore the outdoors, build self-esteem, gain independence, have shared experiences with peers, develop leadership skills, and become advocates for themselves and others.
Camp was a place of many firsts for me; the first time I met others with cerebral palsy, the first place I was able to try new things without someone telling me I couldn’t because of my disability, and the place where I have made many friendships that will last me a lifetime.
Chloe loves going to Camp Horizon, and for her mom, it means time to recharge. “Honestly, it is a completely worry-free week. You know your kid is going to be ok there. The nurses are so amazing. Any time she goes anywhere I’m always nervous about my phone ringing. I don’t get that sense of fear when my phone rings that week. If something happens, I know she will be ok. And I know she’s having a blast.”
– Amanda, Chloe’s mom
Camp Horizon relies on the generosity of the community and partners, like The Calgary Food Bank, to help keep camp costs affordable. Every two weeks, the Calgary Food Bank supplies food items and occasionally can offer personal care items or cleaning supplies. Core items donated include baking supplies, non-perishable food, frozen food, fresh produce, and proteins. Food from the program is used to make three camper meals each day with 1-3 snacks.
Marie says that the Food Link Program, established by the Calgary Food Bank, has been an absolute game changer, “With the rising costs of food, we have faced significant challenges over the last year. Through the Food Link program, we can ensure our campers have healthy, balanced, enjoyable meals to make their camp experience as memorable as possible. We tried other food rescue programs but found coordinating pickups and drop-offs challenging due to our camp’s location.” To help Mick and his team coordinate and reduce food waste, Food Link set up a standardized pick-up time and date.
In many ways, food is the soul of camp. Food is the number one item that people comment on in their camp feedback surveys. Food Link’s contributions have been a substantial benefit for Camp Horizon. Mick shares,
“The Calgary Food Bank really stepped up to help camp get back on its feet and reopen after COVID-19 cancelled everything. Unfortunately, because we had no campers for two years, we had to discard a bunch of shelf-stable food that had passed their expiry dates. Thankfully, they helped us re-stock.”
Food planning can be challenging at camp, as many of the campers rely on restrictive diets. Mick says, “The Food Link Program is incredibly accommodating. Many of the items they offer
(Stevia, milk alternatives, gluten-free flours, etc.) are perfect for our campers.” Mick shared a story of a camper who worried that his dairy allergy had been overlooked when he was served a creamy curry. He came to the kitchen to ensure Mick understood his dietary needs. Thanks to the generosity of the Calgary Food Bank, Camp Horizon received a significant donation of coconut milk, allowing Mick to prepare a delicious, dairy-free curry. The meal not only pleased the masses, but the camper concerned about his diet was absolutely delighted by the safe and tasty treat.
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