10 Calgary charities to support this holiday season

Giving Tuesday and beyond!

By Kristy Archibald | November 29, 2021 |10:19 pm

Photo: @Salvationarmycalgary // Instagram

‘Tis the season for giving and boy do our spirits need brightening this year. After a year and a half amidst a global pandemic, it breaks our hearts to say that the Calgary community is hurting. There are many citizens who are hungry, homeless, jobless, or on the verge of not getting by — and that shouldn’t be. 

This pandemic hasn’t been easy on our community, but there’s more than enough essentials, love, and empathy to spread around. Every human deserves to have their basic needs met, especially if they’re going through a rough or transitional time. Together we need to support each other so we can rebuild, reconnect, and continue to pay it forward in the future. 

If you have the means, money, time, or simply an extra can or two — here are some fantastic charities working hard in the city to make a difference and impact our community for the better. And if you are the one who needs a helping hand, don’t hesitate to reach out to anyone below. This Holiday season is simply about showing kindness and compassion as we make it through this time together. 

Make a Home for the Holidays campaign in support of the Women in Need Society (WINS) 

Poverty takes all forms and WINS helps to support displaced families who have endured any form of trauma or violence — including refugees who now call Calgary home. The ‘Make a Home for the Holidays’ campaign focuses on going beyond the four walls of a home to support vulnerable women and make sure that they can give their families the things we often take for granted. Take a browse through their catalogue of items in need or get involved by gifting a monetary donation. 

The 2021 Kettle Campaign in support of The Salvation Army 

Ring the bell and help the Salvation Army hit their goal of raising $1 million to support local families throughout the city. This year they’ve made donating even easier with a ‘tap to donate’ feature so you can use contactless, credit, or debit to support the fundraiser. All funds raised will go towards supplying food hampers, infant essential packages, school supplies, ESL classes, employment services, financial literacy, and more in the development of their east campus in Forest Lawn. It’s their goal to empower the entire family to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Volunteer at a kettle or donate online or in person. 

The Veterans Association Food Bank 

The Veterans Food Bank goes to support Veterans as they work to prevent isolation, homelessness, and suicide due to physical and mental injuries and illness. Earlier in the month, the food bank was in desperate need of donations, saying they were not sure if they would make it through to Christmas. Help stock their shelves and support the men and women who have given their lives so we can enjoy our freedom. Choose to build or sponsor a hamper, or view their items in need here

The Caring Together Campaign in support of the Children’s Cottage Society

The Children’s Cottage is raising money so that they can build a 35,000 square-foot Child and Family Centre in the northwest community of Montgomery. Many times they find themselves turning children away due to a lack of space, but here they will have an additional 20-bed crisis nursery with a variety of programs and services to help children through a family crisis. Donate online and help them reach their goal so they can continue to look after the next generation of Calgary’s leaders. 

The Giving Tuesday Challenge in support of the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) 

AARCS is challenging Calgary to raise $25,000 in just one day! Why? They have over 600 dogs, cats, and critters in their care and these donations will help them continue to save the lives of homeless, neglected, and unwanted animals. What do you say Calgary — are we up for the challenge? Donate easily online

Gift a gift from the Holiday Store at the YWCA 

The holidays are a stressful time, but for some they are dreadful. Many women are worried about finding somewhere warm to sleep, leaving their unsafe home, or struggling with employment — rather than choosing what holiday decorations to put up. Everyone’s story is different and they are making it easy to help. Head to their Holiday Store and give a gift that could change a life. Gifts include a basket for newborns, clothing for moms and kids, groceries for five families, school supplies, shoes, a toiletry basket, and more. You can even choose your own holiday card to print or email that explains the gift you’ve given on behalf of your loved ones. 

Adopt a Family in support of Closer to Home Community Services

Every year this program supports over 400 vulnerable families with gift cards that can be used towards food, basic necessities, and gifts during the holidays and beyond. Simply choose the size of family you wish to adopt, you’ll be matched with a particular family, and then make your donation. Your monetary donation will be gifted in the form of gift cards so your adopted family can choose how they can meet their needs during this particular season. Each family will receive their gifts with plenty of time to shop and wrap their gifts for the holidays. Choose your family here. 

The United Way of Calgary and Area 

It’s their third Giving Tuesday since the onset of the pandemic — including the special edition declared in May 2020. The United Way is calling on Calgarians to support them in their efforts, especially in their work to help with mental health so close to the holidays. They work with local agencies, such as the Distress Centre and 211 to support citizens in crisis or those unable to meet their basic needs. Learn more about the work they do in the community and make a donation online

The annual Christmas Food Drive in support of the Bear Clan Patrol 

The Bear Clan Patrol is hosting their annual charity food drive and they’re looking for all your non-perishable food items that are sitting gathering dust in your pantry. This includes everything from canned goods to a fresh turkey, ham, or chicken, pet food, and more. You can drop off your donation at Border Crossing Pub (1814 36 Street SE) or simply send an etransfer to bearclasyyc@gmail.com to help them complete the hampers for vulnerable families in need.  Learn more about the Bear Clan Patrol and their annual hampers in our previous story. 

Host a Food Drive for the Calgary Community Fridge 

The cold weather often ushers in the largest season of food scarcity. Grab your friends, team, colleagues, or family and put together a food drive to ensure the shelves of the Community Fridge stay stocked all season long. Find their food donation guides here

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Kristy Archibald

Contributor at Calgary Citizen

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