The Calgary Dream Centre has always provided help during dark times, but 2020 brought unprecedented challenges—not only for the communities we serve, but for our organization and its supporters as well. We all faced adversity and uncertainty last year, but when The Calgary Dream Centre needed help, the city rallied behind us. Thanks to your generous support, our efforts to assist Calgarians challenged by homelessness and addiction will continue to thrive and expand in 2021.
How Our Staff Stepped Up in 2020
The care and kindness our staff provide to some of Calgary’s most marginalized communities directly reflects the care and kindness of our donors. Your support allows us to hire intelligent, sensitive individuals with a passion for helping people overcome addiction and homelessness. When COVID-19 swept across the globe and threatened to shut down the Dream Centre, these individuals were the ones who stepped up and found innovative ways for us to keep going.
New safety protocols and social distancing guidelines kept many of us safe from disease in 2020, but they also risked isolating some of the most vulnerable people in our city. Dealing with addiction and housing insecurity requires a strong network of people who can offer guidance, encouragement, and other resources. Without community, the pressure that comes with these challenges can be overwhelming.
Fortunately, our frontline team found creative ways to promote connection, physical wellness, and recovery. For instance, when gyms across the city were forced to shut their doors, one of our Maintenance Team members was inspired to help our clients remain physically active. By repurposing equipment at our facilities, he created opportunities for them to work out inside our building and began to hold socially distanced exercise classes.
I Choose Hope
Sometimes, the brightest beacons of hope are lit in the darkest places. In a year filled with fear and uncertainty, a small child in a church ignited the I Choose Hope movement.
I Choose Hope began as a small campaign to raise awareness for the people hit hardest during the pandemic by wearing buttons and collecting donations—but it soon grew like wildfire. Next thing we knew, an anonymous sponsor stepped up to match each donation dollar-for-dollar. Their help allowed us to raise over $215,000 for programs and services that support our mission of ending homelessness and addiction in Calgary.
Through the I Choose Hope program, our supporters once again demonstrated their willingness to go above and beyond for a good cause. People didn’t stop at wearing buttons; they put up lawn signs, shared messages of hope on social media, and participated in spinoff events like the Razors for Recovery challenge and the Walk for Hope—a socially-distanced outdoor fundraiser that exceeded its $20,000 goal by nearly 50%. More than 50 people participated in the Walk for Hope, which began at the Calgary Dream Centre and wrapped all the way around Stanley Park, raising funds and awareness for our work with every step.
How Our Community Stepped Up
Not all of our support last year came in the form of donations. Friends, neighbours, and caring citizens found all kinds of ways to show us they care.
The pharmacist across the street began providing us with hand sanitizer when it was impossible to find elsewhere. Local restaurants, grocery stores, and food rescue organizations donated goods in large quantities so that the people we serve could keep eating. At one point, a van that we had parked outside to facilitate contactless donations was packed full of personal protective equipment, toilet paper, dry food items, and other essentials. Sometimes, the magic literally happened overnight.
These gifts (and many others) allowed us to bring Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas hampers to those living in our community houses. Because of you, we were able to ensure that everyone in our community was truly taken care of during the holidays.
Your Compassion in Action
Help from people like you kept our doors open to those who needed support for their recovery in 2020. Here are just a few of the things we were able to accomplish together in the past year:
- 52,213 meals raised during Thanksgiving
- 220 graduates (1,013 since 2015)
- 427 new clients welcomed (3,281 since 2015)
- 301 individuals transitioned into independence (1,768 since 2015)
Thank you Calgary.
The following video highlights this unique year and shows how you kept recovery alive in the face of adversity. We hope you enjoy!
The Calgary Dream Centre looks forward to providing even more support for our city’s underserved communities in 2021. To learn how you can be a part of the changes we’re planning for the year ahead, contact us and speak with one of our team members today.