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CTV News - Giving Tuesday Now

Giving Tuesday now encourages kindness, helps groups hit hard by pandemic

Published Thursday, May 7, 2020

CALGARY -- Though COVID-19 has forced many businesses and public buildings to shut down, groups that help people in situations of homelessness and abuse are unable to close.

They’re still seeing a need, but they’ve had to adapt – in both how they help people and how they fundraise to pay for those programs.

Giving Tuesday typically takes place towards the end of the year, but the initiative was moved up by six months to help community groups in need during the pandemic.

Discovery House is a Calgary organization helping women and children fleeing domestic violence. Without being able to hold events, the main source of fundraising has disappeared.

The organization is hoping people will donate online during the month of May instead.

"We need the funds to maintain the service, but also to fill in the gap caused by COVID-19," says Discovery House CEO Monique Auffrey.

Auffrey says demand for their services has continued during the coronavirus outbreak.

"We know that social isolation and being isolated in a home with an abuser has exacerbated the rates of domestic violence," she says.

"We are now considering that this global pandemic of COVID-19 is on top of a pre-existing pandemic of violence against women and children."

The Children’s Cottage Society helps kids and families in experiencing homelessness. In the 10 days after the pandemic hit Calgary, the group was able to move 14 families out of its homeless shelter and into housing.

On Tuesday, volunteers with the organization delivered food hampers to some of its families who recently moved out.

"We know that going to get groceries for many of these families who have several children is difficult, they can’t do that, so we’re out here bringing them food hampers as well as toys and activities," says Elisha Jackson, the director of development at Children’s Cottage.

The organization says it used government funding to help move the families so quickly after the virus spread, but it is still in need of donations to help people who need it.

"So many charities are struggling with donations and cancelled events. Even Children’s Cottage – basically all of our events have been cancelled," Jackson says.

The Government of Alberta is matching donations up to $2 million to designated charities. It is also urging Albertans to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic and has already received 11,000 applications.