Calgary Cares: Samaritan Club helping new parents struggling during COVID-19

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WATCH: It’s a gift of comfort and caring for new parents in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Samaritan Club of Calgary has made more than 100 care packages for new parents who need them. Lauren Pullen reports – Jun 11, 2020

For more than a century, Calgarians have been able to lean on the Samaritan Club of Calgary for various types of support.

Made up of more than 160 female volunteers and run completely through donations and fundraisers, the group gave away more than $140,000 for family support services and other charity initiatives in 2019.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Warm the Homeless non-profit sees spike in need during COVID-19 pandemic

One of those initiatives is helping new parents by giving them an extra special care package, called a layette.

The Samaritan Club of Calgary makes more than 550 layettes a year, filled with baby clothes, diapers, handmade hats and other newborn necessities. They’re donated to Calgary hospitals and outreach agencies who then give them to new parents who need it most.

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It’s a need that’s grown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, according to healthcare workers.

“There’s so many patients that have lost their income or their income has been interrupted and these babies, they can’t help when they come, they come when they come,” said Corinna Fitch, a maternity child social worker at Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC).

Fitch has worked at PLC for the past six years and has seen first-hand how much the special gift means to families who receive one.

“You can tell there’s just so much love put in these gifts and the patients can see that.

“They’re just so touched that somebody cared enough about them. It gives them that sense of security to take care of their baby their first few days going home and I can’t say enough about that.”

It’s a donation that’s incredibly special for the volunteers too.

“It really makes us proud that we can do this and help in any way we can,” said Sherry Pelensky, who is the chair of the club’s layette committee.

READ MORE: Calgary Cares: Helping seniors get the groceries they need during COVID-19 pandemic

While it continues to provide layettes and offer other outreach services throughout COVID-19, the pandemic has made it incredibly difficult for the charity. All of its major fundraisers have been cancelled.

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“The year 2020 is not going to see any revenue coming in,” club president Monique Weilinger said.

But with deep-seeded roots that date back to 1910 in Calgary, the group is vowing to push on.

“Because we don’t have any overhead costs or staff costs, we were able to just carry on – like we did back in 1918 when the Spanish flu was here,” Weilinger said.

To learn more about the Samaritan Club of Calgary, click here.

All money raised by the charity goes directly to providing help to Calgarians.