Column: Strength of our community shown in how we care for others

Post Date: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The following column appeared in the Calgary Herald in support of the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund:

I often speak about the promise of Calgary. For thousands of years, people have come to this land to build community—a place of welcome, security, prosperity, and opportunity for all.

For many Calgarians, that promise rings true. This is a great place to make a living and a life. But for some, that promise hasn’t been realized. There are very real pressures getting in the way. Pressures of poverty, mental health, and addiction can hobble the strongest person. The challenges of major life changes can bring stresses for which we’re not prepared.

It is our collective responsibility to make the promise of Calgary a reality for every single person who lives here. It is not a nice-to-have or an idle dream—it is a very real commitment rooted in our history and demonstrated by Calgarians every day.

When I read through the list of the 12 agencies that will receive 100 per cent of the money raised from this year’s Calgary Herald Christmas Fund, I don’t just see 12 organizations providing important community services. I see the many hundreds of volunteers, professionals, and supporters who commit all they can to helping people in need. I see the thousands of Calgarians who receive these critical services and are moving beyond the pressures they face. I see children, families, adults, and seniors. I see friends, neighbours, and strangers. I see us realizing the promise of this community.

It’s not easy, but I know we’re up for the challenge. I know this because I’m lucky enough to see the strength of this community every day. From dedicated public servants to passionate professionals and volunteers in the non profit sector, Calgarians in every corner of the city are taking very real actions to make this a city of opportunity for all.

I love the Calgary Herald Christmas Fund because it makes it even easier for us to help. Every year, the team behind this project thoughtfully curates a group of really effective organizations that deserve even more community support. We can be confident a donation is going somewhere that will make a big difference.

Let’s use this holiday season to re-energize and recommit ourselves to realizing the promise of Calgary. Let’s take this opportunity make this place just a little bit better for those around us. And let’s celebrate that we live in a community where helping our fellow citizen comes naturally.

And this year, as we make our way through a fragile economic recovery, I encourage those of us who can afford to give to give a little bit more. Too many of our neighbours want to be able to help but just can’t do as much as they’d like to right now. Let’s all share the load.

From my family to yours: Merry Christmas and have a blessed new year.