Calgary

Calgary food hamper charity gets much-needed office and storage space, thanks to anonymous donors

Reaching Families, a food outreach program, provides food hampers and support to at-risk populations.

'It was a complete miracle that happened' says Reaching Families coordinator

Charlotte Gilmer, program coordinator for Reaching Families, says that previously their organization had been operating out of five storage spaces and was in desperate need for a centralized unit. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC )

After months of uncertainty, a Calgary-based charity has received a donation of much-needed storage and office space. 

Reaching Families, a food outreach program, provides food hampers and support to at-risk populations.

Charlotte Gilmer, the program coordinator, says she put out a plea more than a month ago that they needed a space to operate.

"Things were looking a little grim, especially after COVID had hit and we weren't having luck finding a new place," she said.

Two local real estate groups, who wished to remain anonymous at this time, came in and offered them a 14,000 square foot space in the Beltline, Gilmer said.

"It was a complete miracle that happened."

The donated space will help the organization save on operating costs, allowing them to focus on getting food hampers out to those in need. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

The coordinator says this area will allow them to run outreach and food programs.

"It makes things so much easier for us to be able to get out, get food out and to help other community sources all the way around the city from this central point," she said.

Previously, the charity was at five different locations, which Gilmer says wasn't feasible.

"The fact we get to be here long term means we can centralize our focus onto getting the food out, as opposed to where we are getting it from."

As well, Gilmer says they now have capacity to run a work experience program for marginalized women.

"There are a lot of gaps in services when it comes to understanding someone who doesn't have the skills to just be thrown into a work experience program," she explained. "We're here to bridge that gap so no one gets left behind."

Fieyerra Graham says she is very grateful for Reaching Families and the service they provide her. (Hala Ghonaim/CBC)

Fieyerra Graham, who is expecting her first baby, says she relies on the service.

"I'm really thankful for this program because I wouldn't have any food in my cupboards," Graham said.

The charity also provides diapers and formula for mothers in need.

"I really think it's important for other families to know this is here and available for everybody too. There is so much food here and resources that everybody needs desperately," she said. "Especially during times like this."

With files from Hala Ghonaim

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