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Baking for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs

Eight enthusiastic volunteer bakers made cookies and muffins for the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs (OBGC) after work on March 19, 2019. This is the first in a series of planned events to assist the Clubs in enhancing their food and nutrition programs.

“I want to thank the Foundation for providing funding to go towards food and storage supplies, along with the purchase of a fridge-freezer, so that mass food preparation can occur and be safely stored,” says Donalda Ritchie, a community consultant and project manager at the Kelowna branch. Donalda has been one of the key drivers of the Kelowna Foundation team’s relationship with the OBGC for several years, and leads this new initiative.

The OBGC provide services to 1,300 children and youth each day at a total of 42 locations throughout 14 communities from Osoyoos in the South Okanagan to Enderby in the North.

Food and nutrition has become a priority at the OBGC so that kids and youth at risk can benefit by:

  • an improved immune system;
  • better physical and emotional wellbeing;
  • enhanced ability to focus, learn, and remember; and
  • higher achievement at school.

Their extensive food and nutrition programs cost in the region of $175,000 annually, so any way that we can help out is very much appreciated.

The volunteers cooperated smoothly in a tight kitchen space, and recipes were put together quickly. Oven times were a bit misleading, and the bakers had to use good judgement to ensure the goods were baked through, yet not over-done. They successfully produced food for 77 children (or more)!

“The end result was a plethora of apple oat muffins and carrot cake cookies,” says Donalda.

Prior to the event, Donalda and Sylvia Wells (OBGC Food and Nutrition Coordinator) went to Home Depot to look at appliances that the Foundation team had incorporated into their 2019 Foundation Initiative Plans. Home Depot is already a partner with the OBGC, so they were able to negotiate excellent discounts and get the best options for their needs. With the remainder of the budget, the Club will be able to purchase smaller appliances like a blender for smoothies, a food processor for hummus, as well as a mixer and a griddle.

“Sylvia is completely enamoured to receive this support, she is so passionate about this program,” reports Donalda. “It is exciting to see this program evolve from the backpack nutrition program we participated in last year. The Club is very grateful for our involvement.”

Relatively new to our company, it was administrative assistant, Jan Paseska’s first time volunteering at an Urban Systems Foundation event.

“I am proud to be a part of a company that invests in the community in a meaningful way,” says Jan. “It’s a good feeling to work alongside co-workers to do something that makes even a small contribution to support a community program.”

Joel Short is a community planner who has been with Urban Systems since 1986. He’s had access to Urban Systems Foundation events since this separate, yet employee-driven organization got its charitable status in 1999. He enjoys taking part in initiatives both large (internationally, in Peru last November) and small (locally, just a few blocks from the office).

“I thought it was great to see all the nutritious ingredients that went into those cookies and muffins. Awesome fuel for the kids!” says Joel. “It felt good to contribute towards nutritious snacks for these kids. As a bonus, I thought the baking was also kind of fun!”

A total of four nights have been planned so far, and with the growing interest from participants, it’s expected to continue beyond that. The next event is planned for the end of April, and there was some discussion of putting soup on that menu.

“One Foundation team member was able to recruit their soccer team to assist as well!” adds Donalda.

Above: Carrot cake cookies ready for the oven.


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