Help with Christmas Hampers for Low Income Families

donation-box-hands-adding-cansPreparing for Christmas is almost always associated with giving festive hampers,  a deep-rooted tradition of the holidays for many families. It becomes more meaningful if we can give them to those who do not have much or may not even be able to afford anything for Christmas.

There are many choices for giving seasonal treats and delicacies, toys, or even the gift of basic food, warm clothing, or diapers and formula, to those who are less fortunate.  There are many local programs that need our support:

christmas-1015332_1920There are also many, many other programs and organizations that could use your support:


Need Help?

In your first instance, please call 211 males-1002779_1920

What is 211?

211 is a three-digit telephone number that connects callers to a full range of community, social and government services information. 211 is free, confidential and multilingual. In Calgary, Certified Information & Referral Specialists answer 211 calls 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why call 211?

It can be difficult and frustrating to access the wide range of resources that exist in Calgary. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start looking, or even what’s available. Talking to a trained specialist makes it easier to find information, discover options, and deal with problems.

questions-1014060_1920Who benefits from 211?

Everyone benefits – from individuals, families and professionals to community agencies, and people facing barriers due to language, poverty or personal difficulty. Just a few examples:

  • A son seeking transportation for his aging parents
  • A senior seeking home care support
  • A laid-off employee wanting to find out about employment insurance
  • A teenager attempting to deal with school or social issues
  • A family searching for child-care services in the community

How is 211 different from 311, 411 and 911?

211 – Information referral service for non-emergency human services in Calgary – including more than 4,000 community, social and government services
311 – Customer service line for City of Calgary municipal services such as road repairs, garbage removal and building permits
411 – Telephone directory listings
911 – Emergency number for medical, fire and police assistance

Who is behind 211 in Calgary?

211 Calgary is a joint initiative of the Distress Centre Calgary, The City of Calgary (Family & Community Support Services), and United Way of Calgary and Area. Through its Inform Calgary/Inform Alberta database partnership with The City of Calgary, Calgary Health Region is also an important contributor.


More Resources:

You could also try contacting some of the following organizations (in addition to those listed above). Information courtesy of The Children’s Link Society via the CBE and downloadable here.

Please note: some of the links in the original document are no longer functional, so have been updated below:

1. Community Resource Centre Locations in Calgary and Surrounding Areas

A Community Resource Centre (CRC) is a community based ‘one-stop-shop’ for resources and support. It exists to connect you to all of your available community services, organizations and groups. It has a welcome feeling and its efforts are focused on prevention and early intervention. Some locations require a referral, some don’t. Please visit for locations and more information.


2. Government of Alberta Program Information

Call 310-000 toll free across Alberta /
After Hours emergency shelter, food and medical needs: call 1-866-644-5135

Low Income Supports for Families:

Basic Needs – Alberta Human Resources and Employment
You will receive Income Support only if you have no other way of providing for yourself and your family. You may qualify for Income Support in you:

  • have difficulty working because of chronic mental of physical health
  • are not able to work in the short term because of temporary illness or family
    care responsibilities,
  • are looking for work or working and need short-term help, or
  • need academic upgrading or training to get a job.

The amount you get depends on your situation, including the number of children in your family, how soon can you return to work and any special needs you may have. Contact Alberta Works Contact Centre: 1-866-644-5135

Alberta Health Care: 310-000 then dial 780-427-1423

Alberta Child Health Benefit: 1-877-468-5437. Basic health benefits for low-income families.

Alberta Human Resources and Employment: Alberta Works Contact Centre  1-866-644-5135

Child Disability Resource Link: 1-866-346-4661

Career Information Hotline: 1-800-661-3753 / for a service centre.

Training Information: Alberta Human Resources and Employment  – Alberta Works or Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS)


3. Federal Government Benefits

Call: 1-800-622-6232


4. Other Agencies, Programs & Services

Emergency Child Care: Children’s Cottage (24 hr. crisis nursery)  403-233 – 2273

Calgary Interfaith Food Bank: 403.253.2055 (hamper request line)

Alberta Food Banks: 1-866-251-2326

Managing Debts: Credit Counselling Services of Alberta  403-265-2201

Internet Services: Local libraries; your nearest is Country Hills

Income Tax Services: You might be able to file for free via Intuit . The QuickTax Freedom program is Intuit’s way of giving back to the community. If you have a gross income (line 150) of $25,000 or less, you can use QuickTaxWeb at no cost. If eligible, you can also file your return using NETFILE for no charge. QuickTaxWeb will automatically determine your eligibility.

Legal Assistance

Dental Clinics

  • City Hall Dental Clinic: 944-7117, 323 – 7th Avenue SE
  • Forest Lawn Dental Clinic: 944-7303, 3810 – 17 Avenue SE
  • Thornhill Dental Clinic: 944-7555, 6617 Centre Street N
  • Airdrie Community Dental Clinic: 912-8484, 604 Main Street S


5. Housing Help

Help with Rental Accommodation: The Homeless and Eviction Prevention Fund  1-866-644-5135

Low Cost Housing: Family and Special Purpose Housing  403-297-7453

Help with Utility Costs: Alberta Works Contact Centre  1-866-644-5153

Housing and Co-op Housing Information:

  • Landlord and Tenant Information: 1-877-427-4088 (toll-free)
  • Calgary Housing Company: 403-221-9101
  • Calgary Habitat for Humanity: 403-253-9331
  • Norfolk Housing Association: 403-283-3034. An independent community based non-profit organization assisting low/moderate income families.
  • West Scenic Acres Housing: 403-274-7226
  • Whippletree West Housing Co-op: 403-246-0102
  • West Heritage Manor Housing Co-op: 403-242-8080
  • Sunnyhill Housing Co-op: 403-270-8405
  • Springhill Ranch Housing Co-op: 403-239-6937
  • Sarcee Meadows Housing Co-op: 403-246-2746
  • Ramsay Heights Co-op: 403-264-6615
  • Hunter Heights Co-op: 403-275-2534
  • Heatherglen Housing Co-op: 403-256-3423
  • Deerfoot Estates Housing Co-op: 403-295-3993
  • Alberta 75 Housing Co-op: 403-256-4755
  • Horizon Housing Society: 403-297-1746. Provides appropriate housing for persons with mental illness and other special needs.


6. Crisis Support

Distress Lines

  • 2-1-1
  • Crisis Line: 1-800-667-8090
  • Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse Line: 403-237-5888
  • Distress Centre (24 hr support and referral): 403-266-1605
  • Community Resource Team (24 hr mobile crisis team): 403-299-9699
  • Child Abuse Line: 1-800-387-5437
  • Seniors Line: 403-264-7700
  • Teen Line: 403-246-8336
  • Kid’s Help Line: 1-800-668-6868
  • Parent’s Help Line: 1-888-603-9100
  • Men’s Domestic Conflict Help Line: 403-266-4357
  • Samaritans 24 hr. Help Line:  1-800-667-8089
  • Mental Health 24 hr. Help Line: 1-877-303-2642
  • Child At Risk Response Team (CARRT): 403-297-2995 / 403-266-1234

Homeless Shelters

Women’s Shelters

  • Calgary Native Women’s Shelter: 403-531-1972
  • Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter (24 hour): 403-234-7233
  • Community Crisis Centre: 1-877-9346634 (toll free)
  • Discovery House: 403-277-0718
  • Eagle Women’s Shelter: 403-933-3370

Kerby Centre: Elder Abuse (24 hour): 403-705-3250

YWCA Sheriff King Family Violence Prevention Centre (24 hour): 403-266-0707

Agencies able to provide some support:

  • Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) – Community Health Centre: 403-221-8799. CUPS will help in accessing Calgary Housing Authority and Women in Need Program.
  • Women-In-Need Society: 403-255-7514. Furniture, clothing assistance and information.
  • Calgary Police Services – Victim Assistance Unit: 403-266-1234. Crime prevention for people with disabilities.




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