For those of who aren’t sick or vulnerable, one of the hardest part of the COVID-19 crisis is feeling paralyzed. Many of us want to help out but aren’t sure how. Here are just a few ways you can support local arts organizations, charities, nonprofits/not-for-profits and businesses. By supporting them, you’re supporting your neighbours in Calgary.
Arts Organizations, Charities and Nonprofits/Not-For-Profits
The following organizations have either closed or are have expressed the need for support to maintain operations:
This charity ordinarily operates a kitchen and delivery service to get food to hungry kids in Calgary. This has been suspended due to the need to socially distance, so the organization is focusing on a response fund to buy and distribute grocery gift cards instead. You can donate online.
The Calgary Foundation has created a list of local charities that have urgent financial needs in the wake of COVID-19. Each entry outlines a fundraising goal, what populations the organization serves and what specific initiatives they need help with.
The Calgary Health Trust is a charity in support of Foothills Medical Centre, Peter Lougheed Centre, Rockyview General Hospital, South Health Campus, 12 local Carewest care centres and numerous community health programs. It is accepting donations in order to help people receive the health care they need. The Calgary Health Trust is also a beneficiary of Airdrie-based apparel company Cedar Grip’s “Alberta Cares” t-shirt campaign.
Our national blood bank needs extra help right now. It is still possible and safe to donate blood if you are healthy and don’t fall under mandatory isolation guidelines. If you cannot donate blood, consider making a monetary contribution. Head here and click on “ways to donate” for more information.
This United Way fund was developed in partnership with the City of Calgary in order to provide emergency financial aid to vulnerable Calgarians and the organizations that serve them.
Calgary’s Resolve Legal Group has a free, 24-hour hotline for legal information. If you or someone know have questions about applying for government assistance or other legal matters, call in and Resolve will clarify. Importantly, the firm does not offer advice, just the facts. The firm is not seeking volunteers or donations, so the “help” aspect here is spreading the word or reaching out on behalf of someone who is unable to do so.
Food-rescuing charity Leftovers Foundation is accepting volunteers to help rescue and redistribute food, as well as food and financial donations. Fresh Routes (pictured in main image), is a separate organization but shares team members. The affordable mobile grocery store service is seeking financial donations and volunteers. This includes a GoFundMe in support of emergency food baskets for vulnerable people which will be delivered free of charge. Also, Fresh Routes is one of the beneficiaries of a fundraising t-shirt sales campaign by SophieGrace, Madame Premier and Mandy Stobo.
National Music Centre and all other Studio Bell tenants are closed to the public, including King Eddy, Rosso, CKUA and Alberta Music. Memberships to NMC cost $45 to $58 per person or $110 per family of four. If you already have one, consider gifting one or making a plain old donation.
Women in Need Society (WINS) continues to serve its clients. It’s asking for Calgarians to make monetary donations and has requested that closed businesses donate any surplus cleaning and disinfecting supplies. Monetary donations can be made at its website and cleaning/disinfecting supplies can be dropped at any of its five thrift stores in Calgary.
A number of performing arts groups can be supported by refusing a refund on tickets to canceled shows, buying a gift certificate or making a donation. All Arts Commons resident companies, Calgary Opera, The Grand, Loose Moose Theatre Company, Pumphouse Theatre and Vertigo Theatre are all currently seeking support.
Just because you can’t book a reservation at a restaurant or wander the aisles of a boutique, it doesn’t mean you can’t support the businesses that make Calgary a great place to live.
A huge number of Calgary restaurants have pivoted to focusing on pick-up and delivery options while their dining rooms are closed. Some have special limited-time menus and others will sell you wine or beer with your order. Check your faves’ social media accounts to see if they’re using third parties like Doordash or accepting direct orders, or simply scroll through our regularly-updated piece below. Ditto for heat-and-serve meals from delis, markets and other shops.
P.S. — Tips go a long way right now!
Buy a Gift Card
This one is simple: pay now, enjoy later. Get one for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Check websites or social media accounts of the stores and restaurants you care about to learn what’s available. For restaurants, check out the local directory Eat Later, a website created by a group of Calgary businesses. If you see one that’s missing, they will list it for you free of charge.
This local business run by Avenue Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 honouree Adam Thompson is offering both comic relief and charity during the pandemic. Its new socks depict toilet paper and hand sanitizer and all proceeds from sales go to Canadians food banks. Purchase online and they’ll be shipped to you by May 4.
Mega-retailers, app-based delivery companies and an impressive number of locally owned and operated businesses are ready and waiting to bring you what you need. Of note, Calgary Co-op is delivering free care packages to those under Covid-19 quarantine in accordance with public health agency instruction until April 15. There’s also Inspired Go, a local meal-kit company offering him delivery .
Read more: Grocery Delivery Services in Calgary
Hire A Freelancer
When it comes to remote services, there are plenty of skilled freelancers in need of work to choose from. One place to find them is on the new platform Working From Space, which was created by Avenue contributor Kait Kucy and includes a number of other professionals we’ve worked with in the past. You can also post a specific job you need filled. There’s also Edad Jobs, a similar local directory that has now added volunteer work to its roster.
This clothing company is both promoting the act of supporting small business online and taking pre-orders on a hoodie in support of the aforementioned COVID-19 Community Response Fund. Named “The Healthcare,” the organic bamboo cotton zip-up sweater is made in Canada and all proceeds go directly to the fund.
Keep Up With Us
We will continue to update this article and produce more stories on how to support the Calgary community during this time. To keep up to date with what we’re working on, your best bets are to regularly check our homepage, AvenueCalgary.com, and subscribe to our newsletters: Food, Style and the Weekender. We also have an email hotline, SupportLocal@redpointmedia.ca, where you share ideas on how we can #SupportLocal through coverage.