EXPLORE Classroom Student Led Food Hamper Program

The Cause

Wood’s Homes has an idea to help families in need while creating an engaging learning opportunity for students in our learning centre. Students in our EXPLORE classroom, will gain life skills and earn school credits by planning and executing a food hamper program to support 39 families in need who attend Wood’s Homes programs.

As a community-based learning project, students – through our EXPLORE classroom – will develop a budget and research a menu to purchase and create nutritious food hampers. With assistance from the School Support Counselors, students will build a plan to deliver the food hampers throughout Calgary to families in need every two weeks from September to the end of December. This student led project will “Pay it Forward”, helping feed families that are experiencing financial strain and food insecurity. With an increased demand on the local food bank due to COVID-19, caregivers are struggling to access a healthy amount of food for their families, as well as healthy food choices. EXPLORE students will help address this community issue through their food hamper program.

Education is an integral part of Wood’s Homes mental health services. Wood’s Homes has two learning centres, the George Wood Learning Centre located at the Bowness Campus and the William Taylor Learning Centre located at the Parkdale Campus. Our EXPLORE classroom program, in partnership with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE), provides community-based personalized day treatment programming and learning for six to eight students aged 14 - 17 with mental health challenges. School Support Counselors work with the classroom teacher to develop plans for community-based learning, and to provide instruction that support students to thrive independently at home, in the community and in the workplace.

The food hamper program is a community-based learning project that will “Pay it Forward” while supporting the learning goals and skills of our EXPLORE students. The project provides the opportunity to support the community and increase student engagement as they build their confidence and self-esteem.

As part of their mental health journey, every Wood’s Homes client participates in specialized learning. Wood’s Homes is a children’s mental health centre providing treatment and support for children, youth and their families. Our 500 staff and volunteers help us provide over 40 mental health programs and services to more than 20,000 children, youth and their families every year.

Who Will it Benefit?

The student led food hamper program, benefits the EXPLORE classroom by providing engaging learning opportunities that give back to families in need. The community-based project offers real-life learning in the areas of budgeting, nutrition, map reading and logistics, in addition to math, reading and technology that are a focus for the EXPLORE classroom. Students will also benefit by working on functional and life skills that can help them succeed independently at home, in the community and in the workplace.

Through planning and execution of the food hamper program, the hard work of the students will benefit 39 families in need who attend Wood’s Homes programs. By providing nutritious food hampers to families every two weeks from September to December, students will help reduce the stress and uncertainty for caregivers. The project is an opportunity for the EXPLORE classroom to give back to the community and share messages of kindness and caring – benefiting both the students and the families in need receiving their support.