Inflation hits Calgary kids’ school lunches

Rising food prices are putting immense pressure on parents and charities to provide nutritious lunches to school kids. Henna Saeed talks to Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids and some Calgary parents to ask how they are struggling to provide affordable school lunches to children.

The rising cost of food is raising the likelihood of kids having to head to school hungry, as some Calgary families struggle to keep up with price increases.

“Daily, I am trying to do my best, get my kids a more nutritious meal, all of that stuff. But it is hard,” Calgary mom Jennifer Marshall said.

Bethany Ross, executive director of Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, an organization that makes and delivers free lunches to school kids in need, understands the effects of costly food and how parents struggle.

“One in six Albertan kids is experiencing food insecurity, that’s kids who don’t have enough food in their house, who don’t have enough nutrition in their day,” Ross said. “We are feeding just over 6,100 kids a day right now and the demand is up by 11 per cent. Kids don’t have access to enough food, and it does impact everything in their life, their ability to learn, their ability to make friends.”


During one week, 400 volunteers work at 33 different locations in Calgary to make and deliver school lunches to 6,100 children. Ross says it costs the charity at least $15,000 a day to make lunches for the kids it supports.

“A lunch costs about $2.50 to make and deliver. Since September, we’ve seen about 10 per cent increases on a number of items that are essential to a lunch. So the cost of celery and carrots are increasing, and cost of meat and cheese is increasing. Most of it has [increased] pretty incrementally to this point, so we’re trying to keep those increases at bay as much as we can.”

Ross says feeding hungry kids is a serious issue, and it should be a collective societal responsibility.

“We need Calgarians to continue their support by giving time, by making donations, or just simply being aware of this as an issue and talking to their neighbors and friends about kids who are hungry.”

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