Sorry guys, Monday slid straight into Friday again. And October 1? For real?
I just arrived home from a day in Kelowna, touring apple orchards, getting to know some growers – including the couple who twenty years ago came across a seedling amongst their plum trees that eventually bore what we now know as Ambrosia apples. We ate lunch at Grey Monk – and I can’t wait to tell you about all of it, but there are far too many photos to sort through, and I don’t have confidence in my eyelids to stay open.
Besides, it occurred to me that I haven’t even brought you up to speed on Monday yet. Monday I spent the afternoon with a team of volunteers from PricewaterhouseCoopers making homemade lunchbox treats at Brown Bagging It for Calgary’s Kids, an organization that has been feeding kids who go to school without lunches for the past 14 years. They make and deliver – all by volunteer – about 1500 lunches per day. (Lunches provided in the month of September: 61,027.) They’ve made deliveries to every area of the city – it’s not an issue isolated to a handful of neighbourhoods. They’ve delivered to Rideau Park and Pump Hill. Lunches go to whomever needs them – no paperwork or requirements, no questions.
Can you imagine the efforts that go into coordinating, making and delivering that many lunches daily? They rely on private donations, do a lot of fundraising and have plenty of dedicated volunteers – about 50 regulars (some who come in to help out before going to work) and even more who come occasionally to help out in their downtown kitchen, or take on deliveries.
But ultimately it would be great if the city didn’t need such an organization to fill the gaps, don’t you think? BB4CK’s goal is to be out of business; their new initiative is to help each community create sustainable solutions to the problem, making arrangements to feed those kids who need it, whether it be by a few community members, parents sending an extra lunch with their kids, or any other scenario that works. There are plenty of people doing this already – students at one school making lunches for kids at another, groups of grandmothers gathering to make lunches on a regular basis, churches collecting food for nearby schools, and corporations pitching in to take on lunches so that BB4CK doesn’t have to. I know of at least one school that does try to take it on itself, and spends $1000 per month on food for spare lunches. Knowing how tight public school budgets already are, that must seriously drain resources for other school equipment and activities.
If we all pitched in just a bit, it would alleviate this need altogether. We as communities could easily ensure Calgary kids don’t ever spend a day hungry at school, don’t you think? W goes to Ramsay School, a small (ninetysomething students in the entire school) inner-city school in a 100 year old sandstone building that has lots of character and is one hub of a particularly close-knit community. I’d hate to think any of those kids are going hungry at lunchtime. And so on Monday when I take W to school, I’m going to ask how often this is an issue and what we can do about it. It seems to me if we sent the occasional extra lunch, and maybe set up a collection box of sorts – a Lunch Bank? – into which any parent (or community member) could drop a bag of apples or a batch or box of something or other anytime, then it would be there for those kids who need it when they need it. Can you imagine the impact we’d have if we all just chipped in a little?
Getting off my soapbox now. Right-the granola bars we made. They’re thick and chewy and use No Nuts Golden Peabutter, an Alberta product BB4CK has been supporting for years, which itself is pretty cool. (You could use peanut butter instead.)
These thick granola bars can be customized with any kind of nuts, seeds and dried fruit your kids like, in any proportion. If you don’t have oat flour, make some by processing oats in a food processor until powdery, or try substituting brown rice or quinoa flour.