As it enters its sixth year of operation, I Can for Kids announced that due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, they have started their program of supporting hungry children and youth during the summer months ahead of schedule.
Traditionally, the I Can for Kids’ program began providing food packs throughout the city in late June until the start of school again in the fall. With school nutrition and food programs closed, and with mobility options for students and their families limited in many cases,
I Can for Kids recognized the need to start their summer program months earlier to meet the real and pressing needs that exist today.
“This is a difficult time for those who were already vulnerable and for thousands more who are experiencing food insecurity for the first time,” said I Can for Kids co-founder and Executive Director, Bobbi Turko. “With the help of our long-time agency partners and other local experts, we pivoted quickly and have already been delivering grocery gift cards to children and their families most impacted.”
The provision of gift cards helps ensure kids receive faster access to the food they need now, wherever they are. Because of their existing summer food program delivery model,
I Can for Kids already had the infrastructure and agency partnerships in place to quickly and efficiently provide this support to children and youth most at risk. To date, I Can for Kids, with the support of their agency partners, has distributed two thousand $50 gift cards, quickly providing $100,000 in support to more than 4,000 kids across the city.
I Can for Kids co-founder, Sutton Garner, adds, “We are so thankful for all our partners. While we distribute gift cards, we continue to collaborate with Community Kitchen Program of Calgary on getting food in the bellies of hungry kids as quickly as possible. With their support we have been able to distribute fresh produce along with our gift cards, which has been very well received by hungry families.”
The early start is already having huge impact people’s lives.
“I just want to thank you so much for the amazing opportunity to partner with you in this life-giving mission we are on,” said Mary Dyck with Bethany Chapel. “With my husband’s help, we put together 33 bags of food along with the gift cards you provided and proceeded to door knock. Oh my, what an amazing reaction! Doors were opened carefully, but when they saw us – it was like life giving breath. Such a privilege to have experienced that. So thank you so, so much. By my count, we fed a total of 87 children in the homes we visited.”
Although I Can for Kids has already delivered more than $100,000 in grocery gift cards, the need from the community is much larger. The organization has received more than $525,000 in gift card requests and the waiting list is growing. While their summer program will be delivered in a different way, the need for funding the grocery gift cards presents a larger financial impact to the organization and to Calgarians in need.
“Reaching out to individuals and organizations who are being asked to step up on many fronts at a time when they too are facing challenges is both humbling and inspiring,” concluded Turko. “We are so appreciative of their generosity and dedication to helping us reach thousands of children and youth impacted by today’s crisis, now and for months to come.”
About I Can for Kids
I Can for Kids supports children and youth impacted by hunger over the summer break. By working closely with frontline agency partners and local experts, IC4K has developed a unique understanding of local kids’ evolving needs and a unique approach to meet their needs. We are thoughtful in our approach, committed to quality, and focused on giving kids better access to the food they need with a greater sense of dignity and belonging. Our ‘CAN-do’ attitude is part of who we are, as is our passion to help ensure local kids are fed, stay healthy, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. To learn more visit www.icanforkids.ca
Executive Director and Co-founder
I Can for Kids Foundation