Air Canada Foundation helps fill WCK freezers, nourish families, and make a special connection
When WCK was first established, no one thought we would find ourselves surrounded by the hum of freezers while taste-testing mac & cheese and debating noodle texture. But over the last three years, what started as a rapid response to COVID shutdowns has become an integral part of our support for families.
WCK’s Food Support Program has quickly grown into a lifeline for families in some of the hardest times of their lives, reaching nearly everyone on the oncology/hematology floor at BC Children’s Hospital and into homes across the province. Now, we are so excited to announce that, thanks to the incredible support of the Air Canada Foundation, this program can really take flight.
The Air Canada Foundation is dedicated to helping kids across the country spread their wings by supporting charities that improve children’s health and well-being. Earlier this year, the Air Canada Foundation joined the WCK family as a major funding partner of our food programs, contributing an incredible $80,000 to support and nourish families in crisis.
“This funding has truly been a game changer,” says WCK Food Programs Coordinator Alice Cheung.
“Not only have we been able to keep up with demand for food at the hospital and in family homes, we’ve been able to cater to dietary requirements and provide food that really works for families and meets their needs. It’s amazing to be able to say ‘Yes, we can do that’ to families.”
Recently, employees from Air Canada came to the WCK office to help us pack and sort food for our hospital deliveries. It was a particularly meaningful experience for one employee, who has a special connection to WCK’s Food Support Program.
For James Howey, Manager of Business Development at Air Canada, life changed forever last July when his then 14-year-old daughter Luci was admitted to the oncology floor at BC Children’s Hospital. Here, he and his family were introduced to the WCK meals and snacks that were available for them anytime of the day or night.
“When you’re in such a state of shock and uncertainty, grappling with the sudden news of your child being quite sick, very quickly the everyday routines such as taking care of oneself and preparing food (and even paying attention to whether you’ve eaten!) quickly gets pushed aside,” says James.
“When we were shown the kitchens for our use on the ward and the fully stocked freezer with all types of frozen meals and tasty snacks for our family to take advantage of when we needed it, we were truly overwhelmed.”
For James and his family, having access to these meals made a huge impact and provided the all-around care they needed during a difficult time.
“It made a world of difference to my wife and I having the option for a nourishing meal after long and stressful days being at the hospital and managing our daughter's care,” he says.
It was an incredible moment for James to learn that the company he has worked for for 26 years has partnered with WCK to deliver the Food Support Program.
“My eyes lit up once I realized that our Foundation at Air Canada supported WCK’s Food Program,” he says. “This is something that has been so close to my family and I for the past year, and to see that my organization is walking with us in a way on this journey means the world. We’re so grateful.”
WCK staff were joined by James, Luci, and Air Canada’s Corporate Sales Manager Denise Flemig for a day of sorting, packing, and stickering food for WCK’s upcoming hospital deliveries.
Both James and Denise shared how proud they were that the Air Canada Foundation was a supporter of this program, and that it was a meaningful experience for the Howey family to give back to a program which has been such a big part of their lives.
“Not enough can be said about the positive impact of the WCK Food Program and the burden it lifts for families in the moment when much more important issues are at hand,” says James.
We are beyond grateful for the generous support of the Air Canada Foundation which is making such a difference to our organization, and to so many families like the Howeys.
“Until you are on the receiving end of such generosity, you cannot truly appreciate how much this wrap-around care means, and all the people behind it that even make the program possible.”
For more information about the Air Canada Foundation, please visit: https://www.aircanada.com/en/about/community/foundation/
To learn more about WCK’s Food Support Programs and what we offer, please visit: https://wckfoundation.ca/programs/food-programs/