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

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.

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.”

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And they did just that.

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.

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.”

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

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