As part of CBC/Radio-Canada’s annual Food Bank Drive this year, CBC Calgary urged Calgarians to share stories about how they showed or received an act of kindness — and be entered to win a local prize pack through our “Make the Season Kind” contest.

Share your story with us of how you showed or received an act of kindness this year by noon Thursday (Dec. 24). We received so many heart-warming stories from people,  we’ve been sharing them to help spread the spirit of good cheer over the holidays.

It’s part of a broader campaign throughout the month of December. CBC stations across the country invite you to help Make the Season Kind as we celebrate the kindness of others with special programming and acoming together in support of local charities. 

In Calgary, for 35 years, residents have been donating to the Calgary Food Bank through CBC/Radio-Canada’s annual drive, raising more than $20 million. Last Thursday, CBC Calgary’s Blitz Day officially hit its goal — raising $1 million in donations for the Calgary Food Bank. As of this Thursday morning, we were at $1,203,011— but let’s raise even more.

Here is our final compilation of some of the wonderful stories we’ve received — keep it up, Calgary!

From Dakshima Haputhanthri:

“I came to Canada five years ago. I struggled a lot, financially and emotionally, trying to adapt to Canada because I was on my own. I used the food bank because I did not have enough money after I pay rent. Fast forward four years, now I am a social worker and graduated from U of C social work program in 2019. It took me a year and a bit to find a proper job. This year, me and my partner were able to donate money to food bank ($100), we donated ham to Angel’s Cafe at Edworthy Park because they are providing 100 meals to children at Ronald McDonald House, I was able to create fruit baskets — I bought fruits and created my own — to one of my professors who helped me through my struggles and to one of my coworkers who used to help me a lot when I was sales associate at 7-Eleven. I am full of happiness because I was able to give with the help of my partner.”

From Stephanie Westlund:

“It’s been a hard year and we haven’t been able to see the grandparents much since last February. My kids (Elin, age 6, and Cameron, age 10) wanted to give their grandparents something to look forward to in December so they made a “COVID-19 Advent Calendar.” They made a little bag for each day (two sets of 24 bags!) and included various homemade crafts (such as magnets, bookmarks, ornaments, paintings, etc.), code puzzles (using pigpen cipher and a code wheel), jokes, photos, and some chocolates. This weekend, the grandparents will open an invitation to a Zoom piano concert. Both sets of grandparents are enjoying opening the bags each day for a new surprise. I think we underestimated the joy that this calendar would bring. It was a small thing to do and I’m so glad that we pulled it off.”

From Gail Des Moulins:

“We don’t want to brag, but, since you asked, we helped out some people a few weeks ago, before the tighter restrictions kicked in. We were driving behind a pickup truck on Highway 22 south. All of a sudden, there was fur flying everywhere, as they had hit a deer on the dark highway, which often happens. We stopped to see if they were OK, which they were, but the front of their truck was smashed in and undriveable. They phoned their son in Castlegar, B.C., who agreed to come with a trailer to pick up the truck the next day. So we put all their luggage in our van, drove them to Coleman, where we live, and let them stay in our basement guest room. Their son came early the next morning to drive them back to get their truck. A small thing, but I think they appreciated it.”

From Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Sisters Calgary:

“Hello, CBC team, we saw spirit of kindness all over Calgary this year and we are so excited that we too got to be a part of acts of kindness throughout the year 2020. Here are some of the activities ICNA Sisters Calgary proudly participated in: 1. Our recent most spread out project was on Nov. 13, World Kindness Day. As a kind gesture by Muslim neighbours, we gave out free coffee and drinks available to all Calgarians at participating restaurants including Starbucks and Tim Hortons. 2. Scrub bags and snacks to all hospitals in Calgary. 3. We distributed face masks in nursing homes during Senior Week. 4. We appreciated nurses during the Nurses week with snacks and cakes for them. 5. Children of Calgary also thanked our frontline workers through different collages and videos.”

From Shelly Dolezsar:

“I listen to my co-workers and give them words of encouragement throughout this difficult pandemic. They do the same for me. We are cardiology leadership at the Foothills Hospital, and have experienced so many different challenges this year, but I am so grateful to be surrounded by such wonderful, resilient people. It gives me strength to support others.”

From Shawna Southwick:

“We moved into the southwest neighborhood of Palliser a few years back and, wow, we lucked out with our neighbours. Every winter, it is a race to see who can shovel each other’s sidewalks first! Year round, we share small acts of kindness with each other like sharing yummy food and baked goods with each other! A container of food that is given out is never returned back empty. We have met many people on the street we live on, of all ages, we all take turns hosting each other in our back yards and homes (when it is safe) and offer a helping hand at the drop of a hat! These small acts of kindness have built some amazing relationships and have created a wonderful sense of community. If I am lucky enough to win the draw, you bet I will be sharing the goods with my wonderful neighbours!”

From Zara Enayetullah:

“Hi, I’m 11 years old. My PS 3 intern teacher was leaving today [Dec.18], and one friend and I wanted to do something really special for her, because she was a very special teacher. We made two banners for her, a couple cards and we gave her a gift bag. She was so happy when she saw all that!”

From Mel Ladner:

“In the Beddington area community of Calgary a resident, Martin Lundy, has a business installing Christmas lights. This year, to spread some cheer, he has been finding out about folks who cannot afford to have their lights put up, or purchase said lights, and installing displays for them. Including at a home where a little girl had asked her Mom when they were putting up some pretty lights. Residents in the community were donating light strands and cash to help cover the costs that Lundy has been bearing (on top of his free labour). This has been organized using a community app called Next Door that allows people that live in the same area to connect…. Thank you!”

From Carolyn Pelerine:

“I have been helping out an elderly senior whose friend has been helping her with cleaning, groceries, dog walking …. She is now unable to so I found out about her situation and contacted her. Also, my longtime friend in N.S. is doing the same for my elderly mom.”

From Deanna Klassen:

“In my village of Ryley, we where able to organize a ‘see Santa’ event. One of our councillors donated his yard for Santa to see the kids at a safe distance and masked. It was wonderful to see the kids and adults smile as they walked or drove by. Our village office has also set up a program where if you need help with anything — meals, grocery or snow shovelled. They have a list of volunteers to help out. All done private and no cost. It’s a great place to live.”

From Tamara Gauld:

“This year and every year, I have lived beside my awesome neighbour Dwayne (six winters and counting) [who] has cleaned the snow on the sidewalks the most of the block (both sides) and on occasion he’ll even do our very long driveway. In thanks to him, I’ve previously called the city for the snow angel program in hopes he gets rewarded, baked him treats and given him a gift card in thanks. Dwayne also always does the senior’s driveway across the street so she doesn’t hurt herself. We’re so lucky!”

From Holly Reynolds:

“We had our first child this spring in the middle of the lockdown. My sister-in-law, Eilish Reynolds, made sure that we didn’t go without support. She dropped off countless meals and teas and goodies for us. Even though we couldn’t be together she made sure we were well taken care of and it meant the world to us.”

From Cheryl Turner:

“I found out that you can send a Christmas card to those in the Canadian Armed Forces anywhere in the world for free (care of Canada Post). I sent a bunch out to the more remote stations. My uncle died in the last war, and it was the memory of what he meant to my mom which made it seem like something I had to do.”

From Pam McCallum:

“In early April, I received an e-mail from a young woman in China with whom I had had no contact for at least two years. We both teach in universities and had met at a conference in China. Some years later she contacted me for assistance to spend a year at the University of Calgary. I was happy to help, and I enjoyed reconnecting with her and meeting her little daughter. At the end of the year, she returned to China, and our connections were limited to e-mail Christmas greetings. When she wrote in April, she had heard a news story about how it was impossible to buy masks in Canada and wanted to send me some. Ten days later, a box arrived filled with non-surgical masks. My husband has a lung condition so you can imagine how relieved I was to have them. My friend has an eight-year-old daughter and a small son under two, so she is a busy mom balancing home life with a full-time professional job. I was touched that she would remember me when she watched that program and heartened that however much the diplomatic relationship between our two nations has deteriorated, ordinary people can be counted on to respond with kindness.”

From Deborah Knott:

“My husband’s parents had left for an overseas vacation in February before the average person had even heard of COVID-19. Because they were going away so long, we arranged for a friend of ours to stay at the house to keep an eye on the place while also caring for their cat. Then in March, as the pandemic grew, their tour was understandably cancelled. They were taken to the tour ending point which was Johannesburg, South Africa and told to get home as soon as possible. Of course there were many people around the world struggling to get home. With expensive calling and spotty Wifi at best, I took on the task of trying to get them flights back across the world. With borders closing and the high demand on flights it was an onerous task but we managed to do it. As they had expected to be gone for quite a long time, the house they would be returning to had bare cupboards and an empty fridge. Of course they would need to quarantine upon return but even further they were both considered high risk. We worked on getting them groceries for their return (no internet there and not so much internet savvy here) but we found it difficult to find certain necessities. Our friend Ann (the house sitter), also working full-time as a social worker, went out of her way to find anything else missing on the list. Seeing as she worked with the public, she also did an extremely meticulous disinfecting of the house on her last day. We tried to pay her for the groceries and her hard work on numerous occasions but she wouldn’t take a dime. We were only able to get her to accept a gift card because we hid it in the bottom of a bag with souvenirs. It was a very stressful time for us all as we worried about getting them home and their health as they travelled. Her efforts made it just that much easier and her modesty about it made us all smile.”

From Loldine Vale:

“On March 14, 2020, we returned from a month-long trip to New Zealand to visit our daughter. When we left Canada, Alberta had not yet had its first COVID case and we were returning to a mandatory two-week isolation. We had no idea how we were going to get home from the airport, pick our dog up from the dog sitter or get groceries and supplies for a two-week period. As we arrived in Vancouver, a text arrived from our good neighbour friends saying that they had it all worked out and would pick the dog up for us and shuttle our car to the airport for us. We arrived home to our dog greeting us and to find the groceries, wine, beer and toilet paper they had bought for us. As well, there was a huge container of homemade butter chicken and rice waiting for us. After 24 hours of uncertainty regarding our flights home and of how arriving home to COVID craziness was going to play out, they made it all so easy. Over our two-week isolation, they continued to check in with us every day as to whether we needed anything and ran all sorts of errands for us. It was so kind and thoughtful of them and meant so much at that time of uncertainty. They are the best.”

From Janice Quade:

“I just got back from mailing a parcel at the post office. I forgot to bring tape from home so I ended up buying some there. As I was preparing my parcel, I noticed a man at the other end of the counter doing the same, without tape. I offered my newly acquired roll to him and he was super grateful! Sharing is caring!”

From Valerie Neilsen:

“My mom lives in a long-term care centre in Calgary. They have a minor COVID outbreak and many of the residents must isolate in their rooms. Also, most resident activities are cancelled, and visitors aren’t currently allowed. I received an e-mail from the care centre last week asking for donations of items for what they are calling “isolation kits” to help the residents pass the time. Items such as craft supplies, pencil crayons, drawing paper, personal care items, etc., were all requested. While I was planning on dropping off some items, it didn’t feel like enough, so I reached out to the amazing, kind and generous women who are part of my Midsun Jazzercise class, asking if anyone could drop off some items they would be much appreciated. Within a few minutes, I had between 10 and 15 people reply saying they would be dropping off items in the next few days. This group always jumps at the chance to help others, even when we are all doing our classes virtually these days. Some of the other causes that they have donated to include the Veterans Food Bank, making blankets for the Drop In Centre, coat and clothing drives. Most of the members are seniors, including a few energetic 80-year-olds who truly inspire me.”

From Jessica Yu:

“I go to Tim Hortons and pay for the order behind me! It always feels nice to spread a little kindness to a stranger who isn’t expecting it!”

From Lori Stafford:

“I am a quilter. At the start of this virus, I quilted over 100 hearts that were palm sized, and donated them to the seniors care centre here in Airdrie. I also handed some out to cashiers at our local Co-op grocery store when I was shopping there. It was wonderful seeing them being surprised!”

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