John McCaffray takes volunteerism to a new level.

For the past year, on his own time and his own dime, McCaffray has been serving hot lunches to hungry children and adolescents at CASA Centre.

It’s a program McCaffray launched on his own, after learning that no one else was providing hot lunches at CASA Centre. So without any further prompting, he went grocery shopping, grabbed a spatula and an apron, and went to work.

The hot lunch program has been such a hit that McCaffray recently began offering it twice a month. Rachelle Gibbs, CASA’S Volunteer Coordinator, and fellow volunteers like Erin Saunders are also pitching in.

“For kids who are at a difficult juncture in their life, we give them a healthy meal, so I can leave knowing that at least for today, they’ve eaten. Without healthy fuel their challenges just become bigger,” says McCaffray, a married father of two boys who runs Alquinn Homes, a homebuilding company in Spruce Grove.

“I remember the second time I came to CASA. I met this young boy, he was 12 or 13, and he was so excited about having a hot lunch because he hadn’t eaten since he had lunch the day before. It just tore at my heart to hear that,” he says.

Besides nurturing kids with a heathy meal, what McCaffray loves most is watching CASA’s young charges interact and develop over the course of a school semester.

“I’ve witnessed the personal growth of these kids, their ability to interact and be comfortable, and I’ve seen a change in their confidence. Many of them won’t come up for seconds at first.
By the end of the school term, if they’re hungry they’re coming up and grabbing as much as they can, which is great,” he says.

When he’s not volunteering at CASA or overseeing his staff of 30 employees, McCaffray serves dinners at Ronald McDonald House once a month. He has also been an avid longtime supporter of the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

“I believe it is up to all of us to help those in need.
Our responsibility is to each other.”