CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive tops $1M goal on Blitz Day

Thank you, Calgary. This year's Blitz Day for the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive topped the million-dollar goal, raising $1,146,331.

Funds raised will help feed hungry Calgarians

Staff at CBC Calgary gathered on Blitz Day in 2018. The $1-million mark was reached just after 4 p.m. (Bill Marsh)

Thank you, Calgary.

This year's Blitz Day for the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive helped push the total raised over the campaign past the million-dollar goal, raising $1,146,331 and counting.

The blitz got off to a strong start Thursday with $955,354 already raised by 8:30 a.m. — after a consortium of local technology companies, @YYCTechgives, presented a cheque for $194,032.

Blitz Day ran from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at CBC Calgary featuring live broadcasts of the Calgary EyeopenerAlberta@Noon and The Homestretch from our lobby.

YYCTechgives presents a cheque for almost $200,000 for the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive on Blitz Day in the lobby of CBC. (@xitechnologies)

The Calgary Eyeopener kicked things off at 6 a.m., with guests including:

  • House band Tim Tamashiro. 
  • Santa Claus
  • Calgary Food Bank CEO James McAra.
  • Comedian Andrew Phung.
  • The Hee Bee Gee Bees.
  • The Eyeopener's "eye on the sky" Don Hladiuk.
  • Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
  • Julie Van Rosendaal.
  • Dr. Raj.

At noon, Alberta at Noon took over the airwaves with its annual Christmas Music Request Show. Ghostboy played songs throughout the hour.

And at 3 p.m., The Homestretch took over the lobby. Rockabilly trio Peter and the Wolves performed a mix of Christmas Carols and their own tunes until 6 p.m.

Guests included:

  • Calgary Food Bank CEO James McAra.
  • Food trends columnist Elizabeth Chorney-Booth on the trend of restaurants and chefs giving back.
  • Award-winning photographer George Webber.
  • Cast members from Loose Moose Theatre will talk about A ChristMoose Carol.
  • Marathon man Martin Parnell.

There was an incentive giveaway from Katherine Duncan and the folks at CBC Music, plus, the winner of The Homestretch Holiday Baking Bracket was revealed with shortbread taking the title.

Those still wanting to give can come to the CBC office at (1000 Veteran's Place N.W.) until noon Dec. 24, and donations are being accepted online.

  • Not sure what to give to the food bank? Here's a hint: marinated octopus and decades-old Jello don't make the cut. Watch CBC Calgary's Jenny Howe break it down for us in the video below
CBC Calgary's 2018 Food Bank drive has the ambitious goal of raising $1 million before Christmas Eve. 2:09

Changing face of food bank users

McAra says he's seen the profile of the typical food bank user change. In the mid-2000s, food bank usage was linked to migration — entire families would move to the province, hoping to get at least one good job and settle down.

But the higher cost of living caught a few people off-guard and they then reached out to the food bank.

Calgary Food Bank CEO James McAra says that while he's constantly astounded by the generosity of Calgarians, he believes the low price of oil is going to have a noticeable impact on this year's campaign. (Calgary Food Bank)

Today, 43 per cent of Calgary Food Bank clients are single people.

"We're seeing more individuals, from all age groups, are finding it more difficult to keep their costs contained," he said, adding a recent report found being single can add about 20 per cent to living costs.

Up to 325 calls a day

McAra isn't the only one noticing a difference in the food bank's clientele.

Jody Schilbe, who works with volunteers in the call centre, says on average they receive between 275 and 325 calls a day, with Mondays and Fridays being the busiest.

Schilbe says there is no judgment at the Calgary Food Bank. The organization exists to provide emergency food support for people who are in need of a little help —  and the entire hamper process is completely confidential.

"Don't be afraid," she said. "We're here to help. There's no judgment about what your situation is."

More than a million kilograms of food

Since its inception in 1985, the CBC Calgary campaign has raised more than $19 million to help feed hungry Calgarians.

  • Here's another great way to get into the holiday spirit of giving — create a reverse advent calendar. CBC's food columnist Julie Van Rosendaal shows us how

Last year, the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive raised $1.4 million.

This helped supply more than a million kilograms of food to 35 food banks in Alberta and across the county.

Here are the other ways you can donate online or in person and take part in the fun with the CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive.


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