Calgary, AB I Can for Kids is excited to announce our partnership with the Marlborough Kids Cooking program, an initiative of The City of Calgary’s Community Social Work program aimed at engaging and building youth capacity through a community development approach. The initiative helps address immediate food insecurity while, at the same time, promoting social inclusion and neighbourhood-based capacity building. The virtual cooking program is also aligned with ongoing strategies exploring the numerous dimensions of food insecurity within the Marlborough community.  This information helps I Can for Kids explore the complexity of food insecurity and its impact on children and respond in a manner that promotes inclusion in an effective, efficient and dignified manner.

City of CalgaryThe Marlborough Kids Cooking program was created in response to a need identified by St. Mark Elementary School for children and youth who were isolated due to pandemic quarantines and the shift to online learning. The cooking program has become even more relevant and essential to the community as the impact of the pandemic has revealed experiences of social isolation, mental health and food insecurity.  The program is successful because it is free, inclusive, supportive and accessible.

Participants in the program are introduced to the foundations of food literacy through fun and interactive learning to prepare simple healthy food. Through the program, young people explore a variety of recipes and food groups that are simple to prepare, healthy and affordable. Every effort is made to make the program barrier-free and accessible. For example, participants without access to computers were connected to resources which then provided them with refurbished computers. In addition, all participants were provided with measuring cups, cooking supplies and main ingredients at no cost.

The feedback has been extremely positive, and the commitment of the participants is evident, as none of the kids have missed a class and their enthusiasm and curiosity in learning new recipes, cooking methods, tasting new food fuels the program’s success.

“My kids participate in the cooking program and learned many simple and yummy recipes in a fun way like cupcake in a mug, peanut butter balls, pizza, healthy granola bars, chocolate chip cookies… Even me (mom) I learned new technique in the cooking. The kids learn how to cook, connect with our community and it kept them busy during this pandemic. My kids love it even if it is virtual they have a chance to join our community.” – Marlborough Kids Cooking program participant

The funding from I Can for Kids ensures every participant receives all the food they need to join in.  But we’re only the first ingredient. By working together, we’re strengthening the impact of the program. Our commitment ensures the program can continue to be barrier-free for families and youth who may not otherwise participate without the supplies we provide. The icing on the cake to partnerships such as these, is that participants are encouraged and mentored to take on greater leadership roles within the group, fostering their practical cooking skills as well as learning skills such as public speaking, planning and peer-teaching. That sure sounds like a recipe for success. You can’t beat that!

I Can for Kids believes we build better, healthier, brighter futures for vulnerable kids when we work together.  Stay tuned for more news on what we’ve got cooking with our community partners in next month’s newsletter.


About I Can for Kids

I Can for Kids Foundation is a Calgary-based charitable organization whose mission is to receive food insecurity in children and youth in Calgary. Find out more at www.icanforkids.ca

Media contact: Bobbi Turko, I Can for Kids Foundation, bobbi@icanforkids.ca