The Samaritan Club of Calgary is a non-profit organization that provides short-term assistance to families and individuals in Calgary who find themselves in a crisis. We spoke with President Sandy Debolt to learn more about what they do.
Describe your charity/non-profit/volunteer work in a few sentences.
The Samaritan Club of Calgary provides short-term assistance to Calgarians in need. We have 4 main programs:
– Family Assistance – provides emergency grocery vouchers to families who are unable to get short-term support
– Layettes – Over 550 bundles of baby items including diapers, onesies, sleepers, hooded towels, blankets, knitted sweaters and hats, are given to Calgary hospitals and agencies for newborns of low-income families.
– Special Requests – We manage requests from the healthcare community for assistance in financing aids to daily living and equipment for the Calgary community. Often on a cost-share basis, we contribute to aid for disadvantaged and disabled clients who have nowhere else to turn.
– Education and Camps – Currently, we work through Education Matters to provide scholarships to two educational programs. Louise Dean School assists young moms in completing their high school education. The Discovering Choices program enables academically capable students, who do not experience success in their designated school, with self-directed learning offering flexible hours. We also sponsor children with special needs to attend summer camps.
What problem does it aim to solve?
We are dedicated to providing help to families and individuals in Calgary who find themselves in a crisis.
When did you start/join it?
I joined in 2016.
What made you want to get involved?
After I retired, I wanted to get involved in charity work. I saw how much difference the Samaritan Club of Calgary was making in the local community. The charity is run completely by volunteers and administrative costs are covered by member dues so that 100% of funds raised go to Calgarians in need.
What was the situation like when you started?
The charity has been quietly running in the city since 1910, so it has been a going concern for over 113 years. When I joined the charity was running smoothly and all the programs were operating well.
How has it changed since?
Our membership is aging and is not always able to take on a leadership role, so we need to encourage the next generation of members to come in and take on some of the programs. Most of our members come from referrals from existing members.
What more needs to be done?
The need never goes away so we continue to provide the supports to Calgarians in need. We constantly look at new requests to see where else we can provide support.
How can our readers help?
Readers can help by donating to the charity through the website or contacting us to volunteer at one of our events. If anyone is interested in becoming a member they can contact us through the website and we’d be happy to discuss our membership process.
Do you have any events coming up?
One of our key events is the semi-annual Super Sale. These are huge garage sales we hold at the Hillhurst / Sunnyside Community Centre in April and September. The next one is being held on April 22, 2023. If you’d like to volunteer or attend, you can get more information from our website.
Where can we follow you?
PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity that you love?
We have recently supported work done at ROARR (Robinson Outreach at Rivercross Ranch) which is equine-assisted learning and Calgary Apraxia which provides camps and supports to children with apraxia speech difficulties.