The holiday season is a mwhere bookagical time of year. Everything from the lights and music, to the bustling shopping centres and holiday specials on TV seem to inspire a change in our collective consciousness. Thoughts, so often turned inward, shift palpably toward others. We focus intently on giving, sharing and spreading goodwill. Our collective generosity rockets skyward as each of us is overcome with a compulsion to provide for friends, family and the less fortunate.

Across the board, December is by far the most important month for charities and non-profit organizations. The good tidings that people smother on their loved ones provides much a needed residual spinoff. The kind which we often find ourselves being the gracious benefactors of. So much so, in fact, that donations at this time of year consistently account for the vast majority of our annual revenue.

It isn’t until the holiday season is over that most organizations (ourselves included) find out whether they can move forward with another year of programming. Or whether cuts will have to be made, riding on the shortfalls of optimistic projections.

Hoping to inspire you to make The Calgary Drop-In Centre your charity of choice this year, we’ve come up with 10,000 reasons why you should.

  • Every day more than 1,200 people come through our doors looking for a meal, clothing, a place to sleep, employment services, laundry and hygiene services, counselling, or the opportunity to find a home. They may require only a few of those services, or they may need all of the above. And with the overwhelming majority of clients staying for only two weeks or less, that means that nearly 7,800 different people required our help at least once in 2013.
  • Serving breakfast, lunch and supper every day, we provide over 1,000 meal opportunities to our clients each year. With an averagwhere book 2e of 1,000 clients at each meal that means we serve over 1,200,000 meals every twelve months.
  • Our Counselling department had over 15,000 interactions with clients last year and, so far, over 18,000 year to date in 2014. These clients all have varying degrees of need – ranging from help with obtaining identification and doing taxes, to referrals to drug and alcohol counselling, further psychiatric assessment and therapy.
  • Our nursing staff treated more than 5,000 individual cases in 2013 – ranging from chronic conditions such as diabetes or arthritis, acute treatment for viral illness such as influenza, wound care for minor cuts and abrasions, and even situations requiring further EMS care and hospitalization.
  • Our Employment Services team holds a three-week certification and preparation program each month that regularly graduates 12-15 people with up to 17 industry specific certifications and tickets – totaling more than 150 individuals each year. They also staffed over 9,200 temporary and full time positions in 2013, and more than 11,000 positions this year to date. All while assuring guaranteed hours and fair wages.
  • Our housing program has successfully placed 65 clients into permanent housing – either in our Sundial Apartments or Bridgeland Manor centre for seniors. We have one person scheduled to move in to their new home by the end of the year, and three more anticipating getting the keys to their new apartment by January of 2015.
  • We have over 250 compassionate and caring staff, working in a range of roles to ensure our clients have unrivalled access to the full range of wrap around services we provide.  These so often unsung heroes work around the clock, every day of the year.  And you can bet they will be here with our clients, making sure they have a home to wake up at on Christmas morning.

We could keep counting the numbers of clients we help, and the number of ways we help them. We try to make sure they have everything they need to not just survive, but thrive and grow.  We try to create an environment where a humble group of homeless men can afford to donate a years worth of bottle money to sick children, simply because they have everything they need right here.  And we’ve been doing it for over fifty years.

bottle donationBut the need has never been greater than it is now. And we could not do the things we do without the generous help of kind people like you. When you’re thinking about where to donate this Christmas, please keep us in mind – and please give generously.