Here's how to support struggling Calgarians during the coronavirus pandemic

Mar 17 2020, 10:40 am

Calgarians across the city are self-isolating or quarantining as the COVID-19 pandemic escalates.

The closures of many public areas, including schools, daycares, and recreation facilities, have left vulnerable citizens struggling to secure food, hygiene essentials, and other supplies.

In a time of uncertainty, the people of Calgary have stepped up like they have so many times before, offering helping hands to neighbours and strangers in their time of need.

A Facebook group named YYC Covid-19 Volunteers has been created, organized by Sienna Holden and Eric Pragnell. The volunteer page has organized grocery delivery, food donations, childcare, and more for Calgary families and high-risk individuals who don’t drive or are struggling financially.

The group has over 8,000 members and is growing every day, with more and more people offering their services to those isolated or in quarantine.

A smaller Facebook group called Calgary Covid-19 Support and Relief Group is offering zero-contact airport pickup, grocery delivery, and free sanitary kits.

Approximately 5,000 Calgary-area kids rely on the Brown Bagging 4 Calgary Kids program for a healthy lunch at school. The program has adapted to the rapidly changing situation to support Calgary families who are struggling to feed themselves, according to a release from the organization.

With the health concerns related to food handling and crowds in schools, the BB4CK program has closed its kitchen operations. It is instead raising money through an emergency fund to give grocery gift cards to families in need. You can donate through their website or call them at 403-264-7979.

The Al-Qaim Charity Foundation has offered help to any struggling Calgarians in isolation or quarantine. They can be reached at 403-999-4614.

Multiple community organizations have been effected by the pandemic and have had to close their doors. For those who have extra to give, queer youth organizations like Skipping Stone, Calgary Outlink, and the Centre for Sexuality accept donations year-round to continue to support the LGTBQ+ population of Calgary.

Emergency shelters like the Calgary Drop-in Centre and the Calgary Emergency Women’s Shelter are still taking donations, though they have requested that physical donations be held until a later time, or dropped off at a different location.

For those struggling with mental health during this stressful time, the Calgary Counselling Centre continues to offer phone and online counselling, and the Distress Centre Calgary is providing 24-hour phone support. Both of these organizations take donations to continue their operations.

The Distress Centre is available at 403-266-4357, and the Calgary Counselling Centre intake form can be found here.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.