This has been a tough year for lots of our neighbours. With Christmas just around the corner, the NHCA and Vivo would like you to help us help those struggling the most in our community this Christmas, through the gift of giving.
How can you help?
We will be accepting holiday gift donations at the NHCA office and the Vivo main Guest Services Desk (down the ramp at Vivo) for families & children who need our community’s support. If you can help, even with just one gift, it will mean so much to a family in need this Christmas. For a list of gift ideas, please see the list below.
Thank you for giving the gift of joy to families in our community!
Please note: please don’t bring your donations wrapped – each Mom, Dad and child/teen will be able to choose the gifts they would like to give to their family members and have them wrapped by us on the day. The families in greatest need often don’t get a choice of what they are given, and we would like to let them have the joy of choosing something they know their kids will love (or their parents, for the kids).
- Craft kits for all ages
- Art supplies
- Toy cars/trucks
- Building toys (Duplo, Lego)
- Puzzles (ages toddler and up)
- Gift cards (Chapters, ToyRUs, Walmart, toy stores, etc.)
- Swim vouchers/passes
- Gift cards (Sephora, Chapters, Market Mall/CrossIron Mills, Amazon, coffee shops, etc.)
- Travel mug with hot chocolate packages
- School supplies
- Head phone/ear buds
- Movie passes
Adult gifts (for parents):
- Adult colouring books & colouring pencils
- Gift cards (Market Mall/CrossIron Mills, Amazon, Chapters, Marks, Canadian Tire, coffee shops, restaurants, etc.)
- Bubble bath/bath bombs
- Gloves and mitts (for both men and women)
- Coffee/travel mugs with tea/coffee/hot chocolate
- Picture frames
- Board games
- Family passes to recreational activities (e.g. Calgary Zoo, Telus Spark, family movie pass)
- Wrapping paper, gift boxes/bags, bows/ribbon
- If you would like to donate some basic needs items for these families to pick up in addition to their gifts, we will also happily accept:
- Socks (all ages)
- Shower gel/bubble bath, shampoo/conditioner, hand lotion and other toiletries
- Gift cards to local supermarkets (Sobeys, Superstore, Save On Foods, Co-Op) and drug stores (Shoppers, Rexall)
- Books of transit tickets
- Calgary Food Bank donations – Vivo will have boxes available throughout the centre for donations throughout the winter. These will be collected by the Calgary Food Bank for distribution to those in need throughout Calgary.
Is your family struggling?
If you are reading this post and feel that you really need some help, please don’t wait – contact Victoria at Bow West on 403-703-0140, who will be happy to make an appointment at the NHCA office to help you navigate and provide referrals for the various service agencies and charities. Bow West work out of the NHCA office on Tuesdays, and will be extending their hours to also include Mondays, from November 7th.
You can also try the following agencies while you wait:
1. December Hampers – Calgary Food Bank
Clients who are eligible for an Emergency Hamper will receive the regular 7 days of food as well as Christmas meal items. Though they do their best to provide Christmas favourites (turkey or a voucher for a turkey, stuffing, canned cranberries/fruit/vegetables, potatoes, juice), they cannot guarantee items because they can only distribute what has been donated. Clients who have received more than three hampers in a 12 month period will need a referral.
- Christmas meal hamper requests will be accepted beginning December 1.
- Please schedule your visit by calling ahead of time – call the request line.
- Pick-ups are available from Dec 1 – 23.
2. Salvation Army Christmas Program – The Salvation Army
What is the Christmas Program?
To share the Christmas spirit with families in need, the Christmas Program provides toy baskets for low-income, Calgary-area families. Each toy basket includes a bag of new toys for each child 17 and under. In 2013, they helped 2,700 families.
Who can apply for help from the Christmas Program?
The Christmas Program helps Calgary and area families who have children aged 17 and under and who qualify as low-income under City of Calgary guidelines.
When is this program offered?
The Christmas Program will take appointments until Monday, Dec. 22 (emergency referrals until Tuesday, Dec. 23).
How can someone apply?
Applications are self-referral only. Interested families may call the hotline at 403-410-1158 during business hours (Monday, Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. / Tuesday and Wednesday: 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)
- Toy gift basket during the holiday season
- Distribution of donations received from various fund-raising events such as Toy Mountain, Teddy Bear Toss and Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree
- Referrals to other programs and agencies as required; Calgarians may access this service through appointments made either through email or by phone
3. Adopt-A-Family – The Salvation Army
In partnership with the Calgary Sun, this program links sponsors who provide food and gifts with families needing assistance around Christmas. Families and clients must be referred to the Calgary Sun by the Salvation Army Family Services Office, which includes interviewing the families and doing basic needs assessments. Families that are interested in being adopted MUST contact the Salvation Army at 403-410-1158 to make an appointment for screening.
- A food hamper complete with turkey and trimmings, as well as a new item of clothing and a gift for accepted applicant families
The Salvation Army Has a Family Christmas Assistance Program for those families who live in Calgary and surrounding areas. Families wanting to register must go to The Salvation Army office (1731 29th St. SW) or call (403-410-1158) to secure an appointment time or for more information. Phone hours are Monday, Tuesday, & Friday from 8Am-4:30PM and Wednesday & Thursday from 12PM -8:30PM.
4. Magic of Christmas Assistance Program – The Magic of Christmas
From its humble beginning 32 years ago, the Magic of Christmas has grown to a volunteer family of 500 Santas and elves and serves over 500 families, and over 4720 people in hospitals and other institutions. A referral from a social worker, teacher, doctor, or other charitable agency is required and acceptance is based on availability of resources and level of need.
- Visit from Santa and elves on Christmas Eve
- Acceptance and distribution of donations of clothing (new), toys, and trees
- Hospital, nursing home and shelter visits
- Santas and elves to attend Christmas parties as fundraisers
Contact: The Magic of Christmas, 401 33rd St NE, Calgary, AB, email: email@example.com
They accept referrals from schools, social agencies, and other third party organizations. To suggest a family or individual that may need a Christmas visit, please call the Workshop at 403-803-1619.
5. Women’s Centre of Calgary
39 – 4th Street NE, Calgary, Alberta, T2E 3R6
Phone: (403) 264-1155 Fax: (403) 264-1203 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.womenscentrecalgary.org
Hours Of Operation
With their child’s I.D., mothers or primary caregivers can come in two weeks before or after their child’s birthday and near the Christmas holidays to choose a gift.
For more programs and services available to low income families, and those in need this Christmas, please contact Victoria at Bow West, or the North Central Family Support Program. See our Outreach Tuesdays page for contact information.