Twelve local charities are receiving more than $60,000 each as a result of the 2018 Calgary Herald Christmas Fund campaign, the agencies learned at an announcement Friday.
The total raised through the campaign launched in November was $746,465, translating to $62,205.41 for each of the organizations. The 12 charities also received support from the Calgary Firefighters Charitable Foundation through a New Year’s Eve event that raised $15,516 for the Christmas Fund campaign.
Lorne Motley, editor-in-chief of the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun, said the Christmas Fund selection committee reviewed more than 80 applications for the 2018 campaign.
“We’ve gone through an incredible period of change in our city over the past year,” Motley said at an event attended by representatives of the 12 groups Friday morning. “The economic struggles are real and the need for help has never been greater.”
In the 28 years that the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund has been operating, it has raised more than $27 million for local charities.
“We cannot thank Calgarians enough for this, and because it is mostly regular readers of the paper and of our website who donate…we have great gratitude to them,” Motley said.
Fariborz Birjandian, chief executive officer of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, said the money received from the Christmas Fund will support the Centre for Refugee Resilience initiative.
Birjandian said while recently about 15 to 20 per cent of refugees the agency supports have experienced torture, during the last 18 months, Calgary has received about 300 Yazidi refugees.
“What they have gone through is unimaginable,” he said. “We never had people as traumatized as this population.”
The funding will allow the society to expand mental-health support for this group of refugees, he said.
Josie Nepinak, executive director of Awo Taan Healing Lodge, said the Christmas Fund dollars will help the agency to support vulnerable children and mothers who come through the Awo Taan emergency women’s shelter.
Nepinak indicated the economic downturn experienced by Calgarians has placed even greater demand on the services of local charities.
“Part of our role is to help families work through these situations to move forward in a positive way and to get back on their feet, because economics are unfortunately affecting so many aspects of family life and community life at this time,” Nepinak said.
Barb Ferguson, executive director of the Alzheimer Society of Calgary, said the group’s portion of the funding will support education efforts.
“There’s 17,000 people currently living in Calgary and area with dementia,” …read more