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Calgary’s Brown Bagging program feeds more than 6,500 children each year

Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids teams up with Southcentre Mall


Brow Bagging for Calgary Kids has partnered with Southcentre Mall to raise awareness about food insecurity and childhood hunger. // Submitted

Brown Bagging for Calgary Kids (BB4CK) feeds over 6,500 kids every school day throughout the school year. With food insecurity continuing to rise, it’s critical the organization raises awareness and funds through programs such as the Back to School Together campaign with Southcentre Mall. Until Sept. 15th, visit Southcentre's Sporting Life on the main level to check out the BB4CK installation featuring interactive games as the organization collects donations. We spoke with BB4CK’s Bethany Ross about the campaign.


Tell us why this program is important.

With back to school right around the corner, we wanted to remind Calgarians that there are thousands of children in our community who will be returning to school on empty stomachs this September. It's a heartbreaking reality that we're striving to change. The lack of proper nutrition can have a profound impact on a child's energy levels, problem-solving skills, creativity, and concentration. It's not just about eating; it's about giving these kids the fuel they need to thrive. Without it, their physical and mental health can be at risk. The demand for meals from school nutrition programs has surged. In fact, it's increased by 18% over the past year. Families are facing higher costs for groceries, rent, childcare, utilities, and back-to-school essentials like supplies, backpacks, and clothes. It can feel like an overwhelming burden.

What is the importance of dignified food access for children in school?

It's critical that kids who receive lunches feel cared for, feel part of the school community, and can participate in lunch spaces with their peers. Food is an opportunity for people to come together and share, rather than to drive apart. Ensuring kids can access food in ways that build dignity - selecting food they like and that meet their dietary and cultural needs, and receiving it from people they trust - supports this sense of building community. As part of this, we offer multiple different kinds of food so that kids can select what is best for them.

How can local Calgarians support BB4CK throughout the school year?

There are plenty of ways you can get involved, from monetary donations, to running your own fundraising to donating your time to bake or make lunches. For more information on how to get involved, visit bb4ck.org

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