Winter temperatures have arrived and many Calgarians are in need of warmth
It’s been a very cold week in Calgary.
Winter hasn’t even officially started yet and we’ve already seen wind chills around -30C.
The Weather Network’s winter forecast predicts colder-than-normal temperatures throughout December across most of the country.
Alberta specifically can expect a pretty normal winter with periods of severe cold and snow but also some milder stretches, according to the Weather Network.
The Farmers’ Almanac is calling for plenty of snow and frigid temperatures in the Prairies in January and February.
The start of a long winter
Winter is settling in and it won’t be going anywhere for a while.
That’s why a local organization is hoping to help those who need warming up as the colder temperatures take hold.
Project Warmth has been collecting winter clothing for those in need in Calgary for more than 20 years.
Since its inception, Project Warmth has distributed more than one million items to over 320,000 people in the Calgary region.
A growing need
Founder and president Gord Hoffman says the impact of the organization grows larger every year.
“Every year, we have more and more product, and every year we have more and more need for the product,” he says.
“There’s just a huge demand and the demand is increasing, especially now with inflation and generalized difficulty in our world.”
Hoffman says Project Warmth is helping numerous newcomers to Canada prepare for their first winter.
“There are so many people who need a little bit of extra help right now.”
Preventing a tragedy
Many Calgarians are struggling to pay rent, and Hoffman recalls a heartbreaking story about a woman he once knew.
“I had a client that was working in an office, a very strong, very smart, older lady,” he says.
“She lost her position, couldn’t get another position, then she lived in her car, and then she lost her car. And then she became homeless, and she passed away on the street, and she was as good as anybody times two.”
Hoffman wants to prevent that from happening to someone else.
“I don’t know what else we can do except be there for all these people and provide whatever we can to the best of our ability,” he says.
Most needed items
Calgarians are asked to go through their closets and donate jackets, coats, gloves, mitts, toques, scarves, boots, blankets, sleeping bags, and hygiene products.
Items can be dropped off at more than 40 Calgary Fire Department (CFD) depots across the city.
Hoffman is thankful for the partnership with CFD, which has been going strong for more than two decades.
He is also grateful to the generous Calgarians who step up to support the initiative year after year.
Finding warmth in the cold
“Calgary is just a very warm city. Cold on the outside, but there’s a lot of warmth. And that’s where we get Project Warmth,” Hoffman says.
“It’s the graciousness and the generosity and the goodwill of our citizenry, which is marvelous.”
Hoffman says the Project Warmth team is working hard to make a difference in Calgary.
“There are so many Calgarians that are making such differences in so many different ways,” he says.
“We’re just so very lucky and blessed to be in such a great city, a great province where we’re able to be there to help and so that’s what we’re here for.”
A positive ripple effect
Hoffman encourages anyone interested in Project Warmth to get involved by donating winter clothing, providing financial support, or volunteering.
He says it’s a way to feel good by doing good.
“It feels so good when you do something and when you help other people and when you’re there for them. It’s not just so much for them, it’s for yourself also and for your family and your loved ones,” Hoffman says.
“It’s just great to be involved and to be helping those that need help, period. We get a lot more out of giving than receiving, I can tell you that much.”