For the last four years, the mayhem of Black Friday and frenzy of Cyber Monday shopping blitzes have been dwindling and a new trend has emerged. "Giving Tuesday" premiered in 2012 as a day devoted to supporting those less fortunate through charitable giving. This week, data detailing the results of Giving Tuesday 2015 is providing some comforting news: Giving Tuesday is catching on and people love it. Online donations collected on Giving Tuesday were up 52% over 2014, and the average donation was up by 6%. There was also an increase in the number of non-profits that felt the love - 15% more charitable organizations benefited this year over last.
If you're looking for a chance to give, here are five local organizations or initaivitives located in or connected to the Calgary NW community that could use some support this holiday season.
The SU Campus Food Bank is administered through the University of Calgary Student's Union Volunteer Services. It provides a food relief service to the campus community seven days a week, including individuals and families. According to their website: "This relief is provided through nutritionally sound hampers in accordance with the Canada Food Guide along with information to clients regarding resources available on and off-campus."
You can donate cash and food at any time, and be sure to check out their request list on their website. Right now, the top three items are toiletries, peanut butter, and canned fruit/veggies.
This December, the Alberta Ballet will present its majestic production of The Nutcracker at the nearby Jubilee Auditorium and in Edmonton for packed houses filled with the holiday spirit. This year, through a program funded by Sun Life Financial and organized through Kids Up Front, they hope to send 3,000 children from across the province to the show as well, through donations from our community. Every $10 donation received will send one child to the show, who wouldn't otherwise be able to attend. Tickets are distributed through local agencies, and can make huge impacts on children who rarely get the opportunity to celebrate creativity and imagination during the financially stressful holiday season. Donations are accepted online.
The Ronald McDonald House of Southern Alberta provides a home away from home for out-of-town families of sick children receiving medical treatment at nearby hospitals. This service allows families to stick together and stay close as they fight through medical challenges together. The compassionate team at our local Ronald Mcdonald House, just a few blocks from University District, provide supernatural care and comfort. They do everything they can to make the House feel like a home with group dinners, recreation, and more.
Local stats: 143 families stayed at a the Southern Alberta House while their child was receiving medical care at a nearby hospital. The average stay is about 50 nights. It costs RMH $196 to house a family for the night, but that family only pays $12 - that's a $184 difference.
Help is required year-round in the form of donations and volunteer opportunities. This time of the year, check out the most current 'Wish List' - a list of toys and items for welcome bags, birthday gifts, and Christmas presents. A quick browse of the list updated on November 6 includes Star Wars Lego, baking supplies, sports memorabilia, and gift cards.
As Calgary welcomes 1,300 refugees this holiday season, many organizations have stepped up to facilitate individual support. Opportunities to help range from financial donations to donations of household goods, to educational services to assist with language training. In addition to local funding for recognized local organizations, the Alberta Government is also matching donations made via the Canadian Red Cross response to Europe’s migration and refugee crisis up to $75,000.
Donate warm winter wear via Project Warmth: Gather up new or gently-used winter gear and drop off for distribution via Calgary's local Fire Stations in the City of Calgary. If you can't drop off, contact FIRM Canada for pick up: (403) 451.9201 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. There are currently 10 fire stations in NW Calgary:
Donate housewares via Neighbourlink: Neighbourlink is now accepting donations Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9am-12pm and from 1pm-4pm, and can also come pick up (call 403.538.7395 to arrange). They're hoping to collect home furniture and supplies like couches, strollers, and baby products (formula, diapers, etc.).
Knit a toque: If you can knit or sew, and would like to put a little love into your donation, a group of local individuals is accepting items through the '1300 Stitches for Syria' Facebook Page. Items must be new and can be for any ages/size: mittens, gloves, toques, scarves, cowls, and socks. Tips as well as material suggestions and some requirements are listed in the Page description.
Green Calgary helps businesses & individuals introduce and incorporate green initiatives into their daily practices. They've worked with tens of thousands of Calgarians since 1978 to lead a greener lifestyle and create a more healthy, sustainable city. They've diverted over 90% of waste at popular city events like Calgary Folk Fest & Sled Island and connected with 6,300 kids to inspire them to become environment stewards in their community. They're doing great work from their NW office! Learn more and donate to support their efforts here.
Do you know of an organization that should be included on this list? Contact us!