Feeding Kids Beyond The School Week
When hundreds of students in Calgary were identified as living in food insecure households, the Calgary Board of Education school-based partnership, Weekends and More, was created. Since 2014, students have received nutritious food hampers containing two to three days’ worth of food that discreetly fits into a backpack. This program works to help alleviate hunger and the stigma of food insecurity in students. By providing Weekends and More hampers to participating schools, staff and teachers can support students who are struggling with access to nutritious food on weekends.
Food insecurity can have lasting and devastating effects, especially on younger populations. Food insecurity leads to attention problems, poor grades, chronic health conditions, nutrient deficiencies, and even depression. Feeding students has a positive impact on their academics, social interactions, and health, and Weekends and More helps to ensure that hunger is not a barrier to learning.
Weekends and More hampers are a catalyst for students and staff to have a conversation about life at home to help identify the root cause of their food insecurity. Reasons can be as simple as a family not being aware a food bank or other services exist.
Teachers at participating schools assess students and determine who would benefit from receiving a hamper.
What’s In A Hamper?
All hampers include two to three days’ worth of mostly shelf stable, easy to prepare and ready to eat items. Food items come from an approved list created with the help of Alberta Health Services dietitians.
Included are two of each item: dairy, protein, grain, fruit, and vegetables, and one apple.
Numbers reflect our fiscal year, September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2023.
Community Partner (Agency) Conditions
Schools must receive approval from their school board to participate in the program. It is critical for a school to assign at least one staff member to liaise with the program staff, submit weekly hamper orders, coordinate hamper distribution to students, oversee student enrolment, and submit timely quarterly reports to the program staff.