SUMMER CHILDHOOD HUNGER IN CALGARY

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Kids are full of hope. Hunger holds them back.

By working together, we can give kids in our community a bit of hope and a chance for a healthy future.

Food helps our kids grow and gives them energy to be happy today and to build a healthy tomorrow. Sadly, thousands of Calgary’s kids go hungry during the summer months.

Whether affected by job loss, a health crisis, or other issues, their parents sometimes struggle to provide all they need to thrive. And because many programs only support kids at school or in limited amounts, summer holidays and school breaks can be the hardest times for these families.

Many struggle in private, and just a few doors down from you is probably a family in need with a child too overwhelmed by what they lack to experience childhood to its fullest and prepare for adulthood.

Our Mission is to end summer childhood hunger in Calgary.

I Can for Kids is a growing organization that flourishes in the cracks of our system to provide kids with fresh, healthy food all summer long, when, where, and how they need it. Our unique model is designed for kids. We meet them where they live and play across the city to feed their hungry bellies in a way that builds their confidence and ensures they know they are valued and belong.

Our story is one of a community working together to feed local kids, without barriers or limitations, so they can grow to their full potential. It’s I Can for Kids story, it’s our partners’ story, and it’s your story. It’s a story that’s always evolving, and because we work together to tell it, our story will help end childhood hunger in our own backyard and create a healthy future for kids in our city.

Hunger Facts

  • Half of Calgarians struggle to afford food and shelter
  • Nearly 17% of children in Alberta live with food insecurity
  • More than 5,000 kids in Calgary rely on school food programs during the school year
  • Most kids who benefit from school food programs do not have the same access to a free meal during the summer
  • Working poor families and single-parent families are at particular risk of food insecurity
  • In Calgary, the monthly cost of a healthy diet for an average family of four is over $1,100

Effects of Childhood Hunger

  • Hunger harms children’s physical and mental health
  • Hunger limits kids' concentration, inhibits their learning and makes it difficult for them to thrive in social settings
  • Summer hunger can delay a child’s academic performance by up to two months at the start of the school year
  • Studies have linked childhood hunger to significant health problems in adulthood including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and mental health issues like depression
  • Kids who go hungry part of the year can struggle to reach their full potential as adults

Hunger Stories

 

“For the first time in my life, I did not look forward to summer. I was barely able to feed the children when they were being fed breakfast at school. With my sister's kids with us because she is sick and my [work] hours cut I could not pay the rent, keep the lights on and buy food. Clothing and gas money were out of the question. Then my neighbour asked me to attend a parenting program at BowWest. From the first day I met with the staff, I have felt hope that my family will get there. Some day and some how we will be alright. With I Can for Kids, the kids were full of good things to eat and I had money for our other worries. Thank you.”  

–BowWest Community Resource Centre client

“I Can for Kids was a tremendous help to us this summer. I have twin daughters who are seven and have enormous appetites, and especially in the summer months when they aren't busy in school.  Additionally, our family started a medication trial for my children that they needed, which affected their appetites.  I was shocked and so grateful for the variety in the snack and supper packs because it was difficult at first to get them used to their new eating schedules, and the variety is what helped keep them motivated to eat healthy. As I have to take on a full-time job to support our income, sometimes I don't have the time or ability to get to the grocery store either, which was yet another task in my day that weighed on me, and IC4K alleviated that as well for us.  Food security for children is something that I never had as a child and I suffered for, so to be able to access a program that supports my kids through the summer when food is even more scarce helps me to break the cycles of poverty and oppression we have been subjected to throughout our lives. Thank you again, from the bottom of our full stomachs.”

–WINS Client and her family

Feeding Hungry Kids During the Summer Takes A Year of Working Together.

Though our story culminates each summer, feeding Calgary’s hungry kids is a story that takes all year to tell. Each September, we begin a new fund to feed kids the following summer. With demand in our city growing, for summer 2020 we need to raise even more to provide thousands of food packs to Calgary's hungry kids.