Posted on December 10, 2021

You might not know this, but CIFF is actually both a registered charity and a not-for-profit arts and culture organization. We understand better than most why contributing charitably is so incredibly important, especially during the holidays. You'd be amazed to find out how many organizations and individuals rely on donations to stay afloat. We are in the midst of a season that is supposed to be about joy and love, yet so many people around the world and even in our own city will spend December alone or lacking in resources. 

In the spirit of the giving season, take a look at the local initiatives we've outlined below to learn how you can help spread holiday cheer across Calgary! 


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The Calgary Drop-In Centre provides shelter, food, health services, and housing support to our city’s most vulnerable people. Donating to their list of urgently needed items could help a fellow Calgarian, not just through the holidays, but through the cold, Alberta winter. In addition to winter goods, they have also provided an Amazon wishlist through which you can order brand-new items, gift-wrapped for the full Christmas experience. 


The Mustard Seed is a non-profit organization that has been caring for individuals experiencing homelessness and poverty since 1984. Operating in five cities across Alberta and British Columbia, it is a supportive haven where people can have their physical, mental and spiritual needs met and grow toward greater health and independence. They've compiled a list of their most needed items, which include winter coats, gloves & mitts and winter boots. If you have any extra winter gear please consider stopping by their centres to donate it. 


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The 8th Annual Toy Mountain Campaign will take place from Monday, November 22, through Thursday, December 23. Toys, cash and other much-needed items will be collected in support of the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter. The Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter is focused on ending family violence and abuse in the lives of women, children, youth and men. During the holiday season, many clients go without basic essentials and have few belongings. This campaign will raise awareness around domestic violence and abuse and the great work the Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter does, in addition to collecting items the shelter desperately needs to help the women and children they serve.


Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation’s Gift in Kind program features The Toy and Gift Fund. This special fund supports items that promote healing throughout the year. These include toys, games, art and craft supplies, play equipment and other activities used by Child Life specialists in inpatient care programs and playrooms, both in therapeutic play and just for fun.


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The Alexandra Centre Society is a registered charity with over 45 years of history supporting the Calgary community.  Every year, the Alexandra Centre Society provides Christmas Hampers to those who are experiencing food insecurity issues within the community.  They raise funds and collect necessities to support their Christmas Hamper Program and they need your help to make the 2021 hamper program a success! 


I Can For Kids focuses on addressing the root of food insecurity, going beyond the traditional route of one-time food donations. In supporting this organization, you are supporting a shift towards a more dignified approach to alleviating food insecurity and effecting long-term change. For example, one of their services provides grocery gift cards to families so they can select food that meets their unique personal and cultural preferences with a greater sense of dignity and belonging.


The Calgary Food Bank has a Hampers for the Homeless Program which provides food to agencies that work with those experiencing homelessness in Calgary. Hampers provide short-term relief of hunger with easy to open, ready to eat, shelf-stable food for one to two days. This could make a difference to individuals requiring immediate assistance. 


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The Magic of Christmas is a 100% volunteer, non-denominational charity based in Calgary. Every Christmas Eve, they load up Calgary Transit buses, magically transforming them into “reindeer buses,” with hundreds of gifts and volunteers dressed as Santa and his elves. Then, they do what they do best—deliver Christmas spirit into the homes and hearts of those who need it most. 


The Merry Mail Program from the Calgary Seniors’ Resource Society is a great activity for families and allows participants to maintain social distancing while spreading holiday happiness! Volunteers create holiday cards to send to a senior. Cards could include drawings, photographs, poems or stories written by families or friends and a heartwarming note wishing them a Happy Holiday.


Calgary Meals on Wheels Cookie Kitchen presented by Southcentre Mall has the perfect volunteer opportunity for home bakers. Do you enjoy being around children, having fun and embracing the Holiday Season? If so, they would love to have you join their Cookie Kitchen! Located near Santa's Enchanted Forest, you will provide a welcoming experience for guests and their children by greeting them and providing them with a cookie kit.


We hope you'll consider contributing whatever you can, whether it’s time or resources, to those who need it most this December.

A friendly reminder that we too are accepting donations! So, if you’d like to be a patron of the arts and play a meaningful role in supporting Calgary’s film industry, check out our donations page. 

Now get out there and make a difference, CIFF fans!  

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