Food4Kids President Bryan Hamilton waits for eight families from one apartment building to come down and pick up their grocery cards.

Food4Kids President Bryan Hamilton waits for eight families from one apartment building to come down and pick up their grocery cards.

Food4Kids President Bryan Hamilton waits for eight families from one apartment building to come down and pick up their grocery cards.

Kelly-Sue Oberle insists she is not a hero.

“I’m just the puppet master,” says the Chief Passion Development Officer for Food4Kids Waterloo Region. “All of the people working with me – my small staff and the hundreds of volunteers – are the ones that deserve all the credit.”

Food4Kids Waterloo Region provides packages of healthy food for kids aged 14 years and under, with limited or no access to food each weekend, and daily during the summer, winter and spring breaks. When COVID-19 hit our region, it was the start of March break; Oberle and her staff of drivers and volunteers was packaging and delivering food to the 580 kids (248 families) that are part of their program to make sure they had enough to eat for the week. Then, within days, the province announced the closure of all schools. Food4Kids knew this would make it even harder on the families in need they serve. Each family was called to determine the need for nutritional food support beyond March break.

“We said: ‘We are here for you,’” Oberle recalls. “Many agencies stopped operating when COVID hit. They were not prepared for the increased demand. We are a small and flexible organization that can turn on a dime. We figured we could do something until the other agencies could get up and running again. Once they step into the game, it will take some pressure off of us.”

For now, Food4Kids Waterloo Region is delivering $10,000 worth of grocery cards to extremely food insecure families each week. The number of families they serve has climbed to 600. The most touching part for Oberle was that the kids’ teachers were the first ones to volunteer to hand deliver the gift cards. “It was tear jerking,” she says. “They were so excited to see these kids.”

Kelly-Sue Oberle insists she is not a hero.

“I’m just the puppet master,” says the Chief Passion Development Officer for Food4Kids Waterloo Region. “All of the people working with me – my small staff and the hundreds of volunteers – are the ones that deserve all the credit.”

Food4Kids Waterloo Region provides packages of healthy food for kids aged 14 years and under, with limited or no access to food each weekend, and daily during the summer, winter and spring breaks. When COVID-19 hit our region, it was the start of March break; Oberle and her staff of drivers and volunteers was packaging and delivering food to the 580 kids (248 families) that are part of their program to make sure they had enough to eat for the week. Then, within days, the province announced the closure of all schools. Food4Kids knew this would make it even harder on the families in need they serve. Each family was called to determine the need for nutritional food support beyond March break.

“We said: ‘We are here for you,’” Oberle recalls. “Many agencies stopped operating when COVID hit. They were not prepared for the increased demand. We are a small and flexible organization that can turn on a dime. We figured we could do something until the other agencies could get up and running again. Once they step into the game, it will take some pressure off of us.”

For now, Food4Kids Waterloo Region is delivering $10,000 worth of grocery cards to extremely food insecure families each week. The number of families they serve has climbed to 600. The most touching part for Oberle was that the kids’ teachers were the first ones to volunteer to hand deliver the gift cards. “It was tear jerking,” she says. “They were so excited to see these kids.”

Kelly-Sue Oberle insists she is not a hero.

“I’m just the puppet master,” says the Chief Passion Development Officer for Food4Kids Waterloo Region. “All of the people working with me – my small staff and the hundreds of volunteers – are the ones that deserve all the credit.”

Food4Kids Waterloo Region provides packages of healthy food for kids aged 14 years and under, with limited or no access to food each weekend, and daily during the summer, winter and spring breaks. When COVID-19 hit our region, it was the start of March break; Oberle and her staff of drivers and volunteers was packaging and delivering food to the 580 kids (248 families) that are part of their program to make sure they had enough to eat for the week. Then, within days, the province announced the closure of all schools. Food4Kids knew this would make it even harder on the families in need they serve. Each family was called to determine the need for nutritional food support beyond March break.

“We said: ‘We are here for you,’” Oberle recalls. “Many agencies stopped operating when COVID hit. They were not prepared for the increased demand. We are a small and flexible organization that can turn on a dime. We figured we could do something until the other agencies could get up and running again. Once they step into the game, it will take some pressure off of us.”

For now, Food4Kids Waterloo Region is delivering $10,000 worth of grocery cards to extremely food insecure families each week. The number of families they serve has climbed to 600. The most touching part for Oberle was that the kids’ teachers were the first ones to volunteer to hand deliver the gift cards. “It was tear jerking,” she says. “They were so excited to see these kids.”

Food4Kids relies on many volunteers to keep its program going such as these children who recently helped to sort and package meals.

Food4Kids relies on many volunteers to keep its program going such as these children who recently helped to sort and package meals.

Food4Kids relies on many volunteers to keep its program going such as these children who recently helped to sort and package meals.

Food4Kids Waterloo Region relies on hundreds of volunteers to make their programs successful. Oberle’s phone rings constantly these days and emails are non-stop with offers to help. “It’s overwhelming,” she adds.

Food4Kids Waterloo Region relies on hundreds of volunteers to make their programs successful. Oberle’s phone rings constantly these days and emails are non-stop with offers to help. “It’s overwhelming,” she adds.

Food4Kids Waterloo Region relies on hundreds of volunteers to make their programs successful. Oberle’s phone rings constantly these days and emails are non-stop with offers to help. “It’s overwhelming,” she adds.

I’ve never been so proud of my community. I feel like they are the heroes and I’m the one that is blessed.

– Kelly-Sue Oberle , Food4Kids

I’ve never been so proud of my community. I feel like they are the heroes and I’m the one that is blessed.

– Kelly-Sue Oberle , Food4Kids

I’ve never been so proud of my community. I feel like they are the heroes and I’m the one that is blessed.

– Kelly-Sue Oberle , Food4Kids

Oberle’s passion to help others is genuine: “You can believe in bad or good and I always believe in good.”

Where did this passion come from? Fate, and a desire to help children less fortunate in her community, captured on videotape many years ago, is what fuelled this urge to give back. “My brother asked everyone in the family to record a video talking about where they saw themselves later in life,” Oberle concludes. “In it, I said I hope I do something to help children who are struggling, the lost children of the world. It’s so weird that at 32 I put it out there and here I am doing it! I don’t really know where this passion comes from. I just can’t stand the thought of kids going to bed hungry.”

Support the Food4Kids Waterloo Region program needs financial help to keep feeding these families. Donate to the COVID-19 Extended March Break Program here.

Oberle’s passion to help others is genuine: “You can believe in bad or good and I always believe in good.”

Where did this passion come from? Fate, and a desire to help children less fortunate in her community, captured on videotape many years ago, is what fuelled this urge to give back. “My brother asked everyone in the family to record a video talking about where they saw themselves later in life,” Oberle concludes. “In it, I said I hope I do something to help children who are struggling, the lost children of the world. It’s so weird that at 32 I put it out there and here I am doing it! I don’t really know where this passion comes from. I just can’t stand the thought of kids going to bed hungry.”

Support the Food4Kids Waterloo Region program needs financial help to keep feeding these families. Donate to the COVID-19 Extended March Break Program here.

Oberle’s passion to help others is genuine: “You can believe in bad or good and I always believe in good.”

Where did this passion come from? Fate, and a desire to help children less fortunate in her community, captured on videotape many years ago, is what fuelled this urge to give back. “My brother asked everyone in the family to record a video talking about where they saw themselves later in life,” Oberle concludes. “In it, I said I hope I do something to help children who are struggling, the lost children of the world. It’s so weird that at 32 I put it out there and here I am doing it! I don’t really know where this passion comes from. I just can’t stand the thought of kids going to bed hungry.”

Support the Food4Kids Waterloo Region program needs financial help to keep feeding these families. Donate to the COVID-19 Extended March Break Program here.

Written by: David McPherson

Written by: David McPherson