As the holiday season approaches, the call for charitable contributions has never been louder.
According to the latest Canada Helps Giving Report, charities in Canada and beyond are facing increased demands for support.
Kaleigh Goehringer from the Calgary Humane Society said there is an unprecedented need for support, calling it “intense.”
“We have seen a year like no other. We have over 200 animals on our wait-list to come in. We have seen a 230 per cent increase in puppies coming to the shelter in the last two years alone.”
Despite the challenges, there is a heartening revelation. Albertans have emerged as the most charitable in Canada, showing resilience and generosity in the face of adversity. According to a report by Environics, commissioned by World Vision, 64 per cent of Albertans plan to make a charitable donation this year. The national average is 55 per cent.
Giving Tuesday can make a major difference for local organizations in Calgary. Calgary Humane has a goal of $100,000 in one day, the Alberta Cancer Foundation is aiming to raise $300,000 in support of cancer research and care, and Love for Lewiston is barrelling towards a $600,000 goal by the end of the year.
Alberta Cancer Care CEO Wendy Beauchesne says she sees the generosity reflected in the report first-hand.
“I find Albertans are incredibly generous. The big thing we’re doing with the donations this year is to help support more clinical trials. They are those new and novel treatments that aren’t the standard of care. And they can be the last hope for some patients.”
With so many choices, it can be difficult to decide which organization to support. That’s where the Giving Machine comes in. It’s not your ordinary vending machine: instead of snacks, you donate to important causes with the push of a button.
Joslyn Macdonald, co-chair of the Calgary Giving Machine, says the machine has been a big hit at Southcentre Mall. This is the machine’s second year at this location.
“We are going through a tough time with different charities,” Macdonald said. “We have focuses this year on homelessness and feeding those in need. There are over 30 different items you can choose from.”
Last year the Giving Machine in Calgary helped more than 21,000 people. This year’s edition started on Tuesday and will be inside the mall until the end of 2023.
Love for Lewiston founder Jessica Janzen Olstad partnered with the Westley Hotel this year to fundraise for children who are diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). She says while the big cheques are vital, it’s the intent and impact that matters most during the giving season.
“As we remind people, it has lasting impact. When you’re helping Love for Lewiston or any of the other charities, it can have lifelong impact. My favourite donations are coming from kids who have saved up their birthday money, or asked to donate instead of gifts. I think sometimes people discount that their giving can have impact. Just know that you are contributing and you are helping to keep it going.”
Giving Tuesday officially started in 2012, and since then, millions of people have celebrated the day by doing good, volunteering and donating to causes around the world. Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek officially declared the last Tuesday of the month in November Giving Tuesday in 2022. According to GivingTuesday.org, 37 million people participated last year, donating $3.1 billion to charities.