Calgary non-profit groups see demand increase in recent weeks

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Calgary non-profits see demand increase in recent weeks
Many Calgary non-profit organizations say they’re seeing a spike in demand. One group says it needs volunteers and donations now more than ever. Jackie Wilson reports. – Apr 16, 2021

Harvest Hills Cares Calgary (HHCC), a grassroots local non-profit organization, started just over a year ago, when the pandemic began.

Jennifer Rapuano-Kremenik and a handful of others knew things were going to get bad and was determined to help those in need.

“I’m doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” she said.

“I’ve been where they are… If I can help people have a full tummy, then why not?”

In 2020, HHCC helped more than 10,000 people, according to Rapuano-Kremenik.

Anything and everything from paying bills, dropping off food hampers and medical equipment to providing rides to appointments.

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“Any special needs that aren’t in the normal everyday list that organizations supply,” Rapuano-Kremenik said.

In the past three months, HHC has helped 200 families, 30 seniors, 20 people experiencing homelessness, 50 single parents and four people escaping abusive relationships.

“Harvest Hills Calgary has really helped me and my neighbours with specific needs. The things the other agencies can’t really cater to,” donation recipient, Phillip Shaw, said.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19: Alberta charities, businesses hoping for restrictions to be eased this week'
COVID-19: Alberta charities, businesses hoping for restrictions to be eased this week

With higher COVID-19 case numbers and more restrictions, the non-profit has experienced a spike in requests.

“There was a period where we got … 20 requests a week, then we jumped to 50 to 100 requests a day,” she said.

“Right now our food hamper waitlist jumped from two to three days, to one to two weeks.”

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The Calgary Food Bank is also seeing an increase, with 1,800 more hampers handed out in March 2021 than February 2021.

“For the first time in almost a decade, we’re seeing greater than double-digit increases month to month,” food bank CEO James McAra said.

Luckily, donations and supplies are matching demand at this moment, McAra says.

However that isn’t the case with Harvest Hills Cares —  it’s in dire need of people to donate time, food and/or money to help fill a variety of requests.

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