How we can help
Money, talent or time are welcomed
In a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s natural to want to take care of yourself and those you love first. But once you and those close to you are safe, your thoughts might turn to the community at large.
Whether you’re able to give money, talent or time, there’s plenty you can do to help.
If you have money to give — and every little bit helps — there are resources to help you find the right recipient.
The Calgary Foundation
has set up a COVID-19 Urgent Charity Needs page on its website at ckc.calgaryfoundation.org. The page lets potential donors select from several categories to choose the cause they’d like to support.
“When the mayor declared a state of emergency in March, we knew immediately that the charitable sector’s needs were going to be great,” says Calgary Foundation president and chief executive officer Eva Friesen. “And we knew many people would have an outpouring of generosity and would want to help.”
The foundation has also established the Pandemic Recovery Program, which will support a broad range of community organizations as they work through the crisis. The foundation will match most donations to this program, effectively doubling the amount given.
The United Way Calgary & Area, meanwhile, has created the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, aimed at supporting at-risk populations including the elderly, homeless, people with disabilities, newcomers to Canada and Indigenous groups. Donations to the fund will be matched up to $500,000.
The City of Calgary, meanwhile, is linking Calgarians to a range of volunteer opportunities and ways to give at calgary.ca/ helpingothers. There you’ll find help matching your skills to those who need them as well as links to organizations that need volunteer help.
While it’s true that a large number of people are staying home and not currently working, many businesses, as well as charities, are still up and running and have changed how they operate.
“This situation of being isolated is causing a real shift in the way people deliver services,” Friesen says. “The creativity is amazing.”
Don’t assume the program or service you’re missing is currently unavailable, she says — it may simply have moved online.
“I would urge people to peruse the websites of the organizations they’re interested in.”
Businesses, large and small, have taken a hard hit during the pandemic. The Calgary Chamber is helping by advocating for businesses and gathering their stories at calgarychamber.com/covid19-member-stories. It’s also launched the social media hashtag #HERE4YYC.
Supporting businesses today means they’ll be here to serve Calgarians tomorrow, says Chamber president and chief executive officer Sandip Lalli.
“We believe that vibrant business leads to vibrant communities,” Lalli says. “We are all in this together; it’s within us to move forward and emerge stronger.”
If you’re shopping online while isolating (and who isn’t?), check the options for buying from local businesses before hitting the checkout button on a large multinational e-commerce site.
While the steps for taking care of our physical health have been well publicized, mental health and well-being are also essential to thriving during and after adversity.
“A lot of the charitable sector serves mental health needs,” Friesen says, adding that creativity, art and culture are key ingredients for overall wellness.
“Music and art and reading and beautiful things to enjoy are all part of mental health,” she says.
Organizations including the Calgary Public Library, the Glenbow, Wordfest and others are offering online programming in lieu of inperson events, and all arts and culture groups need financial support in the form of donations so they can get back into action once the pandemic emergency has lifted.
“If you think about it deeply, there are so many aspects of the community that are supported by charitable organizations,” Friesen says.
“I think Calgarians can be very proud of our community and the charitable sector that is serving it.”
Calgary Foundation president Eva Friesen says the organization has set up a web page allowing people to choose from a variety of charities they can support.
The Calgary Chamber is highlighting the stories of Calgary businesses with the hashtag #HERE4YYC, says president and chief executive officer Sandip Lalli.