SOURCE: Calgary Food Bank

Calgary Food Bank

January 19, 2016 14:39 ET

Calgary Food Bank Launches Program to Help Hungry Kids in School

CALGARY, AB--(Marketwired - January 19, 2016) - Imagine starting every day hungry, unable to focus, listen to others or think about anything other than a growling stomach or a head pounding. This is the reality for many Calgary children. Last year, 41 per cent of Calgary Food Bank clients were children -- 57,921 children to be exact -- and that only measures those that have come to the food bank with their families.

It's because of these numbers, and the many hungry children not represented in them, that the Calgary Food Bank came together with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) to pilot a new program, Weekends and More (WAM), during the 2014 to 2015 school year. This program, sponsored by real-estate development group, WAM Development Group, ensures the Calgary Food Bank can provide healthy, nutritious food for Calgary's children.

"We are thrilled to be able to help fill an important gap in providing nutritious food for children in the communities that our employees work, live and care for," said Darren Durstling, President & CEO, WAM Development Group. "WAM is dedicated to the growth and development of the Calgary community and we take great pride in being able to make a difference to those in need."

To meet the needs of children who would otherwise go without food over the weekend, students are identified by the school and given hampers containing kid-friendly meals. In the first year, three schools participated and identified 240 students who received 1,929 hampers. The WAM program is now in six elementary and junior high schools and four more have been identified for this year.

Pamela King, Trustee, Wards 5 & 10, said "The Calgary Board of Education recognises nourished children are better learners and that nourishment is not only a weekday need. Unfortunately, weekend food insecurities are a reality for many of our children, so we are pleased with the success of the Weekends And More pilot project and the expansion to a full program. The Weekends And More initiative is an excellent example how we can all collaborate together to meet the needs of our students."

Food insecurity can have lasting and devastating effects, especially on children. There is no doubt that feeding children has a positive impact on their academics, social interactions and health. Weekends And More ensures hunger is not a barrier to learning. "We have been able to ensure kids are secure in where meals will come from through the weekend and it is often a very soft, caring and kind touch point for a student to have at the end of the week," said one of the participating schools.

Find more information on the WAM program.

This release is transmitted courtesy of Marketwired. 

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