Calgary

Busy CBC food bank drive brings in $1.3M for hungry Calgarians

The Calgary station's annual fundraising drive brought in the large amount after an 18-day campaign — and a last-minute donation from a family going through hard times.

Family with three kids makes last donation, despite hard times before Christmas

CBC Calgary's campaign for the Calgary Food Bank raised $1,328,075. From left: CBC communications manager Alisha Edgelow, Calgary Food Bank media relations staffer Shawna Ogston and Calgary Eyeopener co-host Angela Knight hold the giant cheque at the announcement Friday. (Emily Denooij/CBC)

Albertans have stepped up to donate $1.3 million to the Calgary Food Bank as part of CBC Calgary's annual campaign.

The station's fundraising drive brought in the large amount after an 18-day campaign — and a last-minute donation from a family going through hard times. 

Three kids in the Moore family wrote a letter asking that their donation of $150 be included in the total. Days before Christmas, someone had broken into their home and smashed their family's truck, so they missed the formal cutoff.

But the kids wanted to do their part for their community, as many others did.

"It's still in people's hearts to give, no matter what people are going through in life," CBC Calgary communications manager Alisha Edgelow told the Calgary Eyeopener  at Friday's announcement.

The $1-million mark was surpassed on Blitz Day, Dec. 20. The final tally was $1,328,075 and at least 6,687 kg of food.

Three children wrote into CBC Calgary to make sure their family's donation would be added to the campaign — despite their home being broken into and truck destroyed. (Emily Denooij/CBC)

CBC stations across Canada raise money for their local food banks each December. This year, Calgary went through a tough time economically with high unemployment rates but businesses and individuals alike came up with the time and funds to give back.

"Isn't this amazing? Calgary is so generous. It just gives us goosebumps to be able to see how they've come forward to help their neighbours in need," Calgary Food Bank spokesperson Shawna Ogston said.

Watch this video of highlights from the CBC Calgary food bank drive:

The CBC team held 20 events over 18 days, including station tours and live remote broadcasts of the Homestretch and Calgary Eyeopener radio programs, the Old School Bake Sale, Puppy Paw-looza and Amble with Angus.

Fratello Coffee donated more than 1,000 bags of coffee and people lined up in the early hours of the morning for the chance to buy some of the "Old Gray Knight" roast, a play on the names of the Eyeopener co-hosts, David Gray and Angela Knight.

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

Knight attended many of the events, which saw kids coming in with their allowance, people who return each year and companies that made large donations — like the nearly $195,000 raised by YYC Tech Gives.

"It is about the sense of community that we have and the relationship, which I think is so special, with our audience," Knight said. "Because if it wasn't so important to our audience, we wouldn't have this big number. They are the ones that make this happen."

The food bank was founded in 1982 as the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank Society with a handful of volunteers and two paid staff. The Calgary Food Bank now runs out of a 60,000-square-foot warehouse. Last year, it distributed more than 66,000 emergency hampers and helped more than 180,000 people.

​With files from Mike Symington and the Calgary Eyeopener.

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