Fredericton Community Kitchen Caring for LHHS students through generosity of 100 Women Who Care
The Fredericton Community Kitchen knows how to make a dollar stretch through impactful giving – several thousand dollars to be exact. Following receipt of $15,600 from November's 100 Women Who Care event, they set out to make a difference through their Brown Bagged Lunch Program. Within three days of receiving their cheque, bagged lunches were delivered to sixty youth in need at Leo Hayes High School. Without the generosity of the 156 women in attendance at our quarterly event in November, these youth would likely be without a bagged lunch today. Reality is that this meal may be the only one that some of them receive throughout their day, leaving them hungry and struggling to learn. At the time of our March meeting, approximately 2340 bagged lunches had been delivered to LHHS.
Now that's impact – local and responsive!
Arlene Basker, the organization's Kitchen Manager, speaks passionately about their springboard efforts to eliminate hunger in a vulnerable population at the Northside high school.
"Being selected as the charity of choice in November was mind blowing," said Arlene. "The kindness of 100 Women Who Care was a gift to all of us, but most importantly to the students who are in desperate need of much love, care and nurturing from their community."
As the staff and Board of Directors at the Community Kitchen were hearing from various Educators regarding this critical need in the schools, they decided to launch this Pilot Program with hopes of extending the model into other area schools as needed. Dana McDade, a member of the Kitchen's Board of Directors, is hopeful that this initial investment will lead to further impact within the community.
The community impact from this initiative goes deeper than filling the bellies of youth in need. It has had a profound effect on the student leaders from LHHS who volunteer their time at the Kitchen, under the loving guidance of Arlene, prepping the bagged lunches for their peers.
"I love having the student leaders at the Kitchen," gushes Basker. "When I hear my tigers roaring in the kitchen, filling each lunch bag with healthy food that will sustain a child who otherwise might not eat, my hearts spills over with gratitude. And I don't miss an opportunity to let them know how much they are appreciated."
"I tell them all the time – you are the next generation of leaders. Change is up to you. You have the power to make sure that no one goes hungry ever again."
Arlene and Dana were in attendance at the March meeting of 100 Women Who Care, delivering a message of gratitude to all those in attendance. Speaking openly about her past experience as a single mom who worked multiple jobs to ensure her children had enough to eat, Arlene tears up when she reflects on the fact that she herself would go without lunch just to make sure her children never had to.
"Our depth of gratitude to 100 Women Who Care can never be properly expressed. You ladies gave us more than money. Through your incredibly, generous donation, you showed love to a hungry child, indicating to them that they are important. Your giving also demonstrated faith in a generation of student leaders who are realizing the potential depth of their community impact and leadership. In essence you are telling them that each and every one of them can change the world.