From the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I Can for Kids knew it had to come up with a different way to get food to needy Calgary families.
There are more than 5,000 kids who relied on I Can for Kids for breakfast and lunch programs from their school.
Since the pandemic, they’ve had to change how to help families from distributing food packs to giving out gift cards.
I Can for Kids has been working with various partners, including Save-On-Foods, to ensure that those who have signed up are getting the help they need.
Families that request help are given $50 gift cards to grocery stores closest to them.
“We’ve received $525,000 in gift card value requests. Which is double our usual annual budget,” said Bobbi Turko, co-founder and Executive Director of I Can for Kids.
I Can for Kids supported over 24,000 kids in 2019.
The majority of children the organization supports during the summer months are eight to 12 years old, but no one is turned away.
“Food security knows no age limit,” said Turko.
I Can for Kids is accepting online donations and 100 per cent of all proceeds go directly to the gift card programs for families. Save-On-Foods is also matching each online donation dollar for dollar.
According to Proof Canada, children who experience food insecurity at an early age are more likely to experience mental health problems, such as hyperactivity and inattention.
“It’s important that we step up in helping those families that have traditionally relied on that type of support and who are also newly needing that type of support,” said Turko.