Guest post by United Way of Calgary and Area
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to basic needs was already an issue in our community, with 20 per cent of Calgarians worrying they wouldn’t have enough money to put food on the table.
On March 5, 2020, Calgary recorded its first presumptive case of COVID-19, and in one way or another, everyone was affected. But in particular, people that were already struggling to make ends meet, the Indigenous population, and people facing challenges like domestic violence, mental illness, addiction, social isolation, and so on. To put it simply, the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 made a bad situation worse, as people grappled with the unequivocal stress, job loss, and uncertainty.
United Way of Calgary and Area worked quickly with The City of Calgary (including the Calgary Emergency Management Agency) to establish a city-wide fundraising effort in response to the pandemic, realizing that demand for social services would intensify. On March 18, theCOVID-19 Community Response Fund was launched, with donations being funnelled to local agencies to continue their critical work supporting vulnerable Calgarians.
It should come as no surprise that when the pandemic struck, Local Laundry—who is a longstanding partner of United Way of Calgary and Area—was motivated to help those in need. The company has a social purpose to build community through Canadian clothing, and already donates 10 per cent of its profits to charity. But at this unprecedented time, Local Laundry knew they wanted to make an even greater impact. So the team created an eco-friendly hoodie and t-shirt celebrating frontline medical workers, raised $20,000 in sales—and donated 100 per cent of the profits to the community response fund.
Resourcing from the fund has allowed local agencies to adapt operations to respond to domestic violence occurrences, provide outreach services to isolated older adults, increase food security for vulnerable people, connect Indigenous youth and families with their basic needs, and more. As of June 26th, the fund has invested $6.9 million in rapid response emergency funding, supporting 169 agencies across Calgary and the surrounding area. Read about how all the investments are making a difference.
Local Laundry’s incredible act of generosity is changing lives across Calgary, enabling people to meet their needs today so that they can look toward a brighter future tomorrow. It will take many hands to lift us out of this crisis, and we are grateful to Local Laundry for stepping up, spreading kindness, and standing #UnitedApart with the Calgary community.