How can I help? Calgary.ca/HelpingOthers.
It’s been more than a month since public safety measures changed how we go about our daily lives.
Schools and daycares closed. Gatherings have been cancelled. Grocery shopping is no longer about being able to pop in to your local store for a few items. Everyone has been asked to do their part to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
This hasn’t come without a cost. Jobs have disappeared. Hours and contracts have been reduced. Compounding the impact of Covid-19 public safety measures has been a decline in energy prices that we’ve not seen in decades. The uncertainty and fear over what the future holds is real, and many of us are struggling with how to adjust to this new reality.
But, as usual, Calgarians are approaching this challenge the way they always have: with ingenuity and incredible community spirit. This is who we are. This is what we do. People want to help, but they also want to maintain physical distance protocols and keep everyone safe.
I have seen communities rally on Facebook, creating groups where people can ask their neighbours to go to the grocery store for them, or to help find alternate accommodation for family members who have to self-isolate, or to share information about new public safety measures. Children across the city have had birthday parties cancelled, so parents have asked people to drive by with signs or to honk Happy Birthday to ensure the day is still special. Others are raising money for the food bank, or using their time to volunteer to make deliveries to those who are housebound.
The most Calgarian of questions is the one I get asked a lot right now. “How can I help?” And, it just so happens to be National Volunteer Week, so to answer that, The City of Calgary launched Calgary.ca/HelpingOthers.
There is great information on how to help your neighbours, organizations that need volunteers, and about organizations that could use your financial support. I believe that before long, this momentum that Calgarians have already been building is going to lead to a wave of communities that are even stronger.
For those looking for even more, I want to recommend looking at Propellus.org or at VolunteerConnector.org to find organizations that need volunteers to keep providing their services to the communities they serve. There’s never been a greater need for us to help one another.
I want to encourage Calgarians to continue to look for these opportunities to help your neighbours, while still following all of the guidelines in place that will help keep all of us safe and get through this pandemic, however long that takes. You may also want to contact your local community association, or faith community for opportunities to serve.
As important as helping others is also having the courage to ask for help. There is grace to be found in many places during this crisis, and no need is too small if that’s what it takes for us to keep each other safe.
After all, the only way we will get through this is together.