Since the Calgary Flames’ playoff run in 2004, many Calgarians have taken to representing the “C of Red” outside of the arena, wearing their jerseys with a pair of jeans to their office on game day. But for some families in Calgary, supporting their favorite hockey team is secondary to supporting themselves. As the economy has faltered, families are struggling to meet even the basic needs of their children.
Last December, Graycon I.T.’s Calgary office joined in the Calgary tradition, but with a twist – for $5/day, $20/week or $50 /month, Grayconians donned their jeans, jerseys (and, in some cases, ugly Christmas sweaters) for a great cause, raising more than $2500 for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.
Working with more than 210 schools in Calgary, Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids (BB4CK) feeds 3200 kids in the Calgary area each school day through the work of community groups and volunteers. Community groups including retirees, parent groups and local businesses prepare lunches, and nourishment is available to any young person who arrives at school without enough to eat.
BB4CK recently sent a thank-you note from one of the kids along to the Graycon offices.
BB4CK works with school staff members to identify needs and to plan how best to make sure hungry students get the nutrition required to think clearly and learn. Using local connections through in-kind partners, BB4CK is able to provide a healthy, nutritious lunch for only $1/child.
“The number of kids we’re feeding is up 30% in the last 18 months,” says Bethany Ross, BB4CK’s Sustainability Coordinator. “Being able to scale our efforts – getting up to 400 people from all over the city coming together to feed kids – can make a huge difference in the academic and social success of a hungry child.
“For these students, lunch is freedom. Lunch is energy. Lunch is love – the love of a stranger who would help ensure they have enough to eat.”
For Graycon HR Autumn Heinze, the $2500 raised is a great example of they many ways that Graycon gives back. “Our Karma initiatives are about more than just the usual corporate social responsibility language you hear from so many organizations today,” says Heinze. “What makes Graycon special is that each Karma event can be led internally by literally anyone – from a person on the service desk up through to the President.
“The power of Graycon is our people – and by creating an opportunity for everyone to give back, we give our people the power to make real change in their own communities.”