Nine Christmas and holiday programs for Calgarians in need

The month of December is hard for Calgarians for a lot of reasons, and sometimes, the hardest part is knowing where to look for help. Though we have our own program around the holidays, as a food bank our mandate is food first. That said, we do our best to get Calgarians the support they need, food or not.

December Hampers  Calgary Food Bank

Clients who are eligible for an Emergency Hamper will receive the regular 7 days of food as well as Christmas meal items. Though we do our best to provide Christmas favourites, we cannot guarantee items because we can only distribute what has been donated. Clients who have received more than three hampers in a 12 month period will need a referral.

Learn more

Salvation Army Christmas Program  The Salvation Army

What is the Christmas Program?
To share the Christmas spirit with families in need, the Christmas Program provides toy baskets for low-income Calgary-area families. Each toy basket includes a bag of new toys for each child 17 and under. In 2013, we helped 2,700 families.

Who can apply for help from the Christmas Program?
The Christmas Program helps Calgary and area families who have children aged 17 and under and who qualify as low-income under City of Calgary guidelines.

When is this program offered?
The Christmas Program will take appointments until Monday, Dec. 22 (emergency referrals until Tuesday, Dec. 23).

How can someone apply?
Applications are self-referral only. Interested families may call the hotline at 403-410-1158 during business hours (Monday, Thursday and Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. / Tuesday and Wednesday: 12 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.)

Service offers:

  • Toy gift basket during the holiday season
  • Distribution of donations received from various fund-raising events such as Toy Mountain, Teddy Bear Toss and Salvation Army Angel Giving Tree
  • Referrals to other programs and agencies as required

Calgarians may access this service through appointments made either through email or by phone.

Learn more

Adopt-A-Family The Salvation Army

In partnership with the Calgary Sun, this program links sponsors who provide food and gifts with families needing assistance around Christmas. Families and clients must be referred to the Calgary Sun by the Salvation Army Family Services Office, which includes interviewing the families and doing basic needs assessments. Families that are interested in being adopted MUST contact the Salvation Army at 403-410-1158 to make an appointment for screening

Service offers:

  • A food hamper complete with turkey and trimmings, as well as a new item of clothing and a gift for accepted applicant families

Learn more

Teen Christmas Totes  Junior League of Calgary

The Teen Totes project began in 2004 and is aimed at providing gift totes to Calgary teens who have been traditionally underserved during the December holiday season. The Junior League of Calgary partners with community agencies to distribute the totes to those in need. Distribution of Christmas tote bags by referral through only community resource centre partners. The Junior League does not distribute totes directly, only through Community Resource Center partners.

Service offers:

  • Teen Christmas totes filled with candy, disposable cameras, food coupons, gift certificates, gloves, Hitmen hockey tickets, hygiene items, magazines, mitts, movie passes, pencils/pens, playing cards and toques

Learn more

Christmas Meal Delivery – Calgary Meals on Wheels

Calgary Meals on Wheels is a not-for-profit organization established in 1965 in response to an official request by the City of Calgary to assist the elderly living alone and those being discharged from hospital with no help available during their recovery. Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers nutritious meals to people in need. Calgarians must apply and register for this service.

Learn more

Christmas Tip:

Call your local Community Association!

Often, community associations have community dinners during the holidays. They also have their foot in the door with local agencies that are not listed here.

Magic of Christmas Assistance Program  The Magic of Christmas

From this humble beginning 32 years ago, the Magic of Christmas has grown to a volunteer family of 500 Santas and elves and serves over 500 families and over 4720 people in hospitals and other institutions. A referral from a social worker, teacher, doctor or other charitable agency is required and acceptance is based on availability of resources and level of need.

Service offers:

  • Visit from Santa and elves on Christmas Eve
  • Acceptance and distribution of donations of clothing (new), toys, and trees
  • Hospital, nursing home and shelter visits
  • Santas and elves to attend Christmas parties as fundraisers

Learn more

Feed the Hungry Program – Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary

Feed the Hungry is a program offered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Calgary. Oversite of the program is provided by the Charities & Development Office of the Diocese. Feed the Hungry offers a Sunday dinner 49 weeks out of the year at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Mission.

Service offers:

  • Christmas dinner will be held on Dec. 18
  • Hampers for the Homeless Program, in partnership with the Calgary Food Bank, are given out at the weekly dinner on a first come, first served basis

Learn more

Children’s Christmas Party  Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch

This Annual Children’s Christmas Party provides families located in the Central Alberta Region a unique Christmas experience, free of charge. Each year, the program hosst over 3,000 people at Christmas parties, which are made possible by more than 500 volunteers. Transportation to and from the Our Lady Queen of Peace Ranch is provided.

Service offers:

  • An individualized and requested Christmas Present with up to a $50 retail value
  • A new winter hat and/or gloves
  • A visit with Santa and a treat bag
  • Ride on a horse
  • Hay wagon ride/horse-drawn carriage ride
  • Visit at the petting zoo
  • Arts and crafts in the Activity Tent
  • A new or gently loved stuffed animal
  • Lunch and goodies like chili, hot dogs, cotton candy, popcorn, ice cream and Slurpees
  • Families are welcome to visit Gab’s Place, which is full of new and gently used clothing and house items free for the families to take as needed.
  • All families and children must be approved or be a direct referral from one of their agencies.

Learn more

Birthday and Christmas Gift Program for Seniors – Seniors Secret Service

This program sends anonymous birthday and Christmas gifts and cards to isolated seniors who have no family support system. The goal of the program is to enhance the quality of life of for individuals 60 years or older who are alone or isolated in the community. This service is targeted to only isolated seniors over the age of 60.

Service offers:

  • An anonymous Christmas card and/or gift

Learn more

More Info

Find more information on Christmas and holiday programs


  1. Lana

    Posted on December 1, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    Do you require any volunteers during this Christmas season?
    I am free to do so and have my own vehicle
    Please let me know if you need any help this year


    Lana Mcgillis

  2. Arpan Modi Says :

    Posted on December 4, 2015 at 3:11 am

    Thanks guys for your amazing service.

  3. Nour

    Posted on December 7, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Hello I’ve been trying to contact Salvation Army to assess the Christmas program and I’m failing could you please give me their email address please


    • Calgary Food Bank

      Posted on December 8, 2015 at 8:08 am

      Hi Nour,

      The Salvation Army is only taking clients via their phone line. Please keep trying! There may be a wait. you can also contact us if you need any emergency food: 403.253.2055

      Hope you get through soon. We’re here for you!

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