How we can help

Money, ta­lent or time are wel­comed

Calgary Herald - - ESSENTIAL PROVIDERS - MILES DURRIE

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.

CHAR­ITY NEEDS

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.

ON­LINE OF­FER­INGS

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.

MEN­TAL WELL-BE­ING

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.”

GAVIN YOUNG

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.

AZIN GHAFFARI

The Calgary Cham­ber is high­light­ing the sto­ries of Calgary busi­nesses with the hash­tag #HERE4YYC, says pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sandip Lalli.

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