I Can for Kids Foundation
Our Story Why We Exist
"I never expected to find myself in a situation where having food would be a concern. My family and I have been through a whole lot in the last four months and sometimes in this journey I have found that we need extra help with food, clothing or basic items. We have been lucky enough to benefit from the I Can for Kids program, this program has saved us more than once. I do not know how we would have made it, especially through the summer, without I Can for Kids. They drop off with a friendly smile and a bag of food to help us get through the week. What more could I ask! Thank you I Can for Kids, I will never forget how you have helped my family!" - Brenda Strafford Centre client
School nutrition programs play a critical role in helping children build healthy minds and bodies. A meal received at school may be a hungry child's only meal of the day.
Sadly, the majority of kids who count on these programs during the school year don't have the same access to a free meal during the summer. The resulting hunger can have an overwhelming effect on their physical, emotional and social health, and delay their academic performance by up to two months at the start of the school year.
Whether affected by a job loss, a health crisis, or escaping a life of abuse, thousands of Calgarians struggle to put food on the table every day. To make matters worse, few options exist to provide food to hungry kids during the summer. Local agencies are limited in their programming, resources and hours of operation, and are not able to provide food to children consistently, or in amounts lasting more than a few days.
I Can for Kids and our community partners are working hard to ensure children and youth across the city receive the supports and resources they need. Together, we provide food packs to hungry kids in high-risk, low-income areas in Calgary to help them get the nutrition they need to learn, play and grow over the summer months, preparing them for a healthier start to the school year.
Our Impact What We Do
We deliver child-friendly food packs, each accounting for three meals and two snacks, to food insecure children and youth right in their own neighborhoods to end summer childhood hunger in our community.
Hunger affects everything we do. We have a harder time concentrating, we don't feel good, we're less active, and we behave differently. For people, skipping a meal is hard enough, but for kids who rely on being fed at school, summer hunger can have a devastating impact on their physical, emotional and social health, and delay their academic performance by up to two months at the start of the school year. For over 3,500 Calgary kids who rely on school nutrition programs everyday, summer will be their hardest and hungriest time of the year.
Over the past year, Calgary school nutrition programs have seen up to a 30% increase in children needing support, a crucial indicator of the number of kids who will need food supports during the summer. With the help of our generous supporters, I Can for Kids hopes to provide 36,000 meals to hungry kids in Calgary this summer.
In collaboration with a number of respected community partners, we reach some of the most vulnerable kids in Calgary - children in single parent low-income households, kids who have recently escaped domestic violence, and homeless youth as young as 12 years old. Our partners include:
- Calgary Housing Company
- Community Kitchen Program of Calgary
- The Brenda Strafford Centre
- Wood's Homes
- Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary
- The Alex Youth Health Centre
- Cornerstone Youth Centre
- Hull Services
- Women In Need Society
- Families Matter
- Bowwest Community Resource Centre
- Last summer we provided 30,000 meals to hungry kids across the city.
- We are the only agency in Calgary providing this service.
Our Programs How We Do It
I Can for Kids prides itself on a simple and efficient business model that bares little financial risk, while delivering a critical service to thousands of vulnerable kids in the community.
Step 1: YOUR GIFT
It all starts with the generosity of our corporate sponsors, donors and grant funders to support our program, as well as a dedicated team of volunteers who give manage all aspects of the organization and program delivery.
Step 2: PARTNERSHIPS
Next, we build partnerships with food manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers and encourage them to donate groceries for our food packs, or leverage their buying power to purchase inventory at a significantly reduced cost.
Step 3: ASSEMBLE & STORE FOOD PACKS
Then during the spring months, we collect and safely store our inventory at our warehouse. It's there where we engage groups of volunteers to join us in assmembing our food packs.
Step 4: BUILD DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
While we keep busy preparing our food packs, we also work hard to build distribution channels with community and agency partners. Our partners are key in helping us reach the hungriest kids in Calgary.
Step 5: PURCHASE A $5 CHILD-FRIENDLY FOODPACK
During the month of May, we run a special campaign through Calgary Save On Foods stores by selling our food packs to their customers to donate to hungry kids in our city. For those who can't make it to a Save On Foods store, donations are accepted online all year long.
Step 6: FOOD PACKS ARE DISTRIBUTED TO HUNGRY KIDS
Finally, when school ends, we get busy delivering our food packs to hungry kids in high-risk, low-income areas in our city until the start of the school year.
Since we believe nothing should stand in the way of a hungry child getting the support they need, we do not require recipient children or their parents to endure a lengthy, income-based application process in order to receive our support. This process often presents barriers, and associated stigmas prevent many families from accessing the resources their children desperately need. Instead, simply based on the child's living situation and their qualification to receive support from our partner agencies, I Can for Kids provides them with the food supports they need in a non-judgemental, barrier-free environment.
But it's more than a meal.
Working to address the challenges that result in poverty and food insecurity is imporant to us. We actively participate in a number of collaborations with agencies who advocate for long-term strategies that address the root causes of poverty, such as Vibrant Communities Calgary - stewards of Enough for All, Calgary's poverty reduction strategy.
Together, we endeavor to enrich, empower and inspire every young life we touch, and build a community where no child goes hungry.
Our Requests What You Can Do
Food is fuel. Without it, kids can't live up to their full potential. You can help end summer childhood hunger in our community.
$5 feeds a hungry kid for a day or more. Help us provide 36,000 meals to hungry kids this summer.
Invest - A financial donation is the first critical step in transforming the future of vulnerable, food insecure kids. You can:
- Purchase an I Can for Kids $5 food packs at any Calgary Save On Foods location in May.
- Make an online donation to I Can for Kids anytime.
- Want to make a bigger impact? Consider a recurring monthly gift. You can increase, decrease or cancel your monthly donation at any time.
- Become an I Can for Kids corporate sponsor.
Inform - Help us spread the word about the impact of child summer hunger:
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to help us share our story.
- Subscribe to the I Can for Kids newsletter.
Inspire - Roll up your sleeves and feel closer to the cause. Volunteer your time and talent and encourage your family and friends to join you to:
- Volunteer at our warehouse assembling food packs that will go to hungry kids.
- Host an I Can for Kids FUNdraising event. Check out our Awesome to Zany FUNdraising Ideas for Kids & Schools (big kids can take a look too!).
- Choose I Can for Kids as the beneficiary of your community or corporate fundraising event.