Advertisement

Calgary Cares: Youth centre offers free lunches to anyone who needs one

Calgary Cares: Youth Centres of Calgary pack up free lunches for anyone in need
WATCH: A Calgary youth centre is shifting gears amid the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure no one goes hungry. Lauren Pullen reports.

Its mandate is to be there for the Ogden community; to help ensure kids have a safe place to go to socialize, take part in after school programs and have a free meal if they’re hungry.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Helping seniors get the groceries they need during COVID-19 pandemic

So when the Youth Centres of Calgary (YCC) closed its doors in mid-march due to COVID-19, staff and volunteers knew they still had a job to do.

“A lot of kids aren’t eating,” YCC executive director Jane Wachowich said. “We realized as soon as school was out we had to pivot quickly and refocus our energy on food uniquely and making sure every kid in Calgary gets fed.”

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

And they did just that.

Story continues below advertisement

It all started with a free bagged lunch program outside of the Ogden youth centre and quickly expanded to include three other locations: Forest Lawn High, Ian Bazalgette Junior High and Rosscarrock Elementary.

“We’ll ultimately be serving upwards of 450 lunches a day, grab and go,” Wachowich said.

Their mission is going beyond just feeding youth: they’re offering a free lunch to anyone who needs it.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Sports club provides lifeline for families during COVID-19 pandemic

YCC is able to provide the lunches thanks to generous donations and an army of volunteers helping at each of the four locations.

“Cars drive by and they see a sense of hope,” Ian Bazalgette principal Terry Baustad said with a smile. “They see people supporting each other I think those are the good moments as well within a very tough time.”

Calgary Cares: Cartoons for a cause
Calgary Cares: Cartoons for a cause

The free lunches are available seven days a week at all four locations between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Story continues below advertisement