I Can for Kids March 2021 Update

We’ve been quiet, but we’ve been busy, and we have a lot of news to share…

It’s been one year since COVID-19 shut our community down and changed the normal way of living.  Some days it seems like the year has flown by, but for thousands of people impacted by this terrible pandemic, these challenging times seem to have no end.

COVID has changed everything, and still has the potential to affect so many people long term.  At I Can for Kids, it changed what we do and how we do it.  We had to be flexible and try new things over the past year, and it paid off.  We found a better, more effective way to support hungry kids.  And we’re sticking with it.  

Grocery gift cards is a game changer.  Not only does it give families access to stores closer to home, but it allows the caregivers to feel trusted and respected to make good choices for their families based on their unique needs. Being able to “shop where everyone else shops” helps to restore pride, dignity and confidence and a sense of belonging. It is simply a more inclusive way to support hungry kids and families.  

“This past year has been merciless to so many people. It has been extremely hard financially. The cost of food has gone up significantly. I’ll be honest, I would not have made it through some months without the help of I Can for Kids. I don’t know how they do it, but God bless them! I remember one time I was really stressed out about food. COVID had just hit us, and I needed 3 days of food. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I reached out to our community social worker to ask for help. A few hours later, she came by with gift cards from I Can for Kids! That was such an amazing day for us! I admit I bawled my eyes out. It is hard not to feel like you’re failing as a parent sometimes. I Can for Kids has been and continues to be such an incredible blessing. I am forever grateful for the help my girls and I have received.” – Jessica G., IC4K program recipient

95% of our recipients would prefer to receive a grocery gift card rather than food. 

Distributing grocery gift cards presents a barrier-and stigma-free way of empowering families to purchase food that meets their personal, cultural, religious, and health needs. That simple plastic card becomes a very empathetic response to a very traumatic experience.

And while our shift to gift cards is a model we will continue with throughout the year, we will still distribute fresh, nutritious food all summer long, when they can no longer access their school breakfast and lunch programs. It’s who we were when we started, and it remains a critical resource for thousands of hungry kids in our city.  At I Can for Kids, we know we need to meet kids where they are, not where we want them to be.

Recovery from the pandemic will be slow.  Our frontline agency partners have indicated this year has started with an even greater need as it gets worse for families who continue to struggle with unemployment, and many who were fortunate to have savings have seen their accounts depleted and are needing support.

We have already distributed over $109,000 in grocery gift cards this year, but there’s so much more to do.

We have a $1 million target and a million reasons why you should join us. Donate today!

About I Can for Kids

I Can for Kids Foundation is a Calgary-based charitable organization whose mission is to receive food insecurity in children and youth in Calgary. Find out more at www.icanforkids.ca

Media contact: Bobbi Turko, I Can for Kids Foundation, bobbi@icanforkids.ca

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