This past week our team visited the <a title="Youth Empowerment and Support Services" href="" target="_blank">Youth Empowerment and Support Services (YESS)</a> main centre&#160;on Whyte Avenue at the Mill Creek Ravine. &#160;This is a converted firehouse from 1904 that has been developed over time to become the primary refuge and support centre for teenagers who have found themselves without a place to sleep or food to eat. &#160;They offer emergency shelter for homeless kids, several day programs and support services, plus long term placements to help kids learn the skills they need to make it in our community. For years, The Organic Box has been supporting the YESS through various initiatives. &#160;Every Saturday we send them surplus food for their kitchen, and in March we raise money by participating in the annual St Patrick's Day Road Race in Edmonton. This visit this month has changed our perspective. &#160;We learned that the YESS kitchen provides over <strong>4,000 meals a month</strong> through its various programs and drop-in centers, and does it with <b>no food budget</b>. &#160;This program relies entirely on donated, surplus food to keep its kitchen stocked. &#160;This means often there are shortages of key ingredients that they need for their clients. As an example - they have had <strong>no breakfast cereal for the past three weeks</strong> and so have nothing to give the kids for breakfast! &#160;As a parent and former teenager myself, I can't imagine being a teenager without breakfast cereal. When we were there, Miranda witnessed a clear example of why the YESS is so special and so needed in&#160;our community. &#160;A young man came into the reception area in only his socks - he was sleeping in the ravine&#160;and his shoes had been stolen the night before while he was asleep. &#160;The staff at the YESS set him up with a new pair of running shoes on the spot - no questions asked, no lectures about keeping his things safe. &#160;A small moment of pure connection between a very vulnerable teenager and the community he lives in to make sure he has the essentials of life, and an invitation to come back anytime for anything else he might need. <strong>Let's Give The YESS a Food Budget.</strong> At The Organic Box, we are blessed with a bounty&#160;of healthy, whole food that is produced with the same care and attention as the team at the YESS gives to its&#160;clients. &#160;We have decided to give the YESS a food budget for the next 12 months. &#160;Lets make sure that they can get access to the same very special food products that our members enjoy, and make sure that they never have to go three weeks without breakfasts again. Starting next week, we will be providing a food budget for the YESS - their kitchen and residents will be able to order product from us for delivery to their kitchen every Saturday. &#160;They will have access to all the fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy, grocery, pantry and meats that we carry, and we have committed up to&#160;<strong>$26,000 of our Growing Better Together</strong>&#160;<strong>Fund</strong> to this program over the next year. <strong>We Hope You Will Help Too</strong> There is a whole wealth of science telling us that the nutrition of children and teenagers is directly linked to the development of adolescent brain function, behaviour and mood. &#160;We want to make sure that all members of our community have access to the same special, healthy food as our members. &#160;This commitment represents about 25 cents per order delivered and if you are able, we would be so grateful if you could match our gift with a gift of your own. &#160;Please consider donating 25 cents per order to the YESS for the next 12 months. &#160;Imagine the possibilities if we could transform our $26,000 into $50,000 in a single year. &#160;If you are a current member check your email for information on how you can help. <strong>You Make It Happen</strong> Miranda and I are so grateful for the support of our membership - your commitment to our program and our food producers provides a real living for dozens of small farming families in our community and is an engine of change in the wider food system. &#160;Being part of our Food Family means you provide us with the security and income we need to make transformational community&#160;investments&#160;like this program with the YESS. &#160;By shopping with us you are having a true impact on our food system and pushing food security forward for our entire community. &#160;Thank You. All the best, Danny and Miranda Turner Co-Founders and Owners &nbsp;