Christmas is an integral time for Calgary Bear Clan Patrol.
That’s when the Indigenous community-watch group mobilizes a team of volunteers with all hands on deck to collect enough donations to serve the community with a hand-crafted Christmas hamper.
Last year, the organization collected and delivered up to 200 hampers, says Yvonne Henderson, one of the original seven founding members of the Calgary chapter, which started in 2019.
“Our Christmas hamper drive is a really big time for us,” she says.
It’s an integral part of the community-watch group’s mission to patrol the streets of Calgary as they help some of the city’s most vulnerable.
“Being barrier-free is something new Calgarians haven’t experienced. Food is essential and people shouldn’t have to show how poor they are to get food,” Henderson explains.
Giving back to the community
That’s true especially for the holidays, she adds.
“Bear Clan keeps that spirit alive all year long, giving back to the community. From Winnipeg to Calgary we are honoured to serve the community.”
After collecting donations, the clan will hit the streets and hand out the donations and hampers to those in the community who need them.
The group conducts regular street walks every Friday night to conduct outreach work in the community, which includes handing out supplies, using naloxone kits, and even looking for missing people.
“In Calgary, our indigenous people and marginalized people, they’ve always been left out… and it was really important for us to put them in the forefront. We want to let them know we are here for them and give them hope,” Henderson says, adding the organization has between 50 to 75 volunteers but could always use more during the Christmas season.
How you can help
“We’re hoping to get some more drivers to help deliver items.”
The group is also asking for donations such as:
Dry goods( pasta, boxed stuffing, pasta Sauce, canned goods, canned meats, canned veggies, soup Noodles, Kraft Dinner etc.)
Toilet paper, paper towel.
Gift under $10 or gift card
Turkey, chicken, or ham for the family
Potatoes or veggies.
Snacks for household
Bread or buns.
Flour, baking powder, sugar, oil, coffee or tea.
Coffee, tea, sugar
Donations are being accepted from now until Dec. 18 at the Border Crossing bar, located at 1814 – 36 St. SE. Those looking to volunteer their time or have questions can email the Bear Clan Patrol at firstname.lastname@example.org.