This winter, we need your help. One in ten Calgarians are currently living in poverty. Tonight, your neighbour down the street might be shivering under blankets with their children, because they can’t afford to turn the heat up. You can help.

With a 20% increase in clients served this year at Closer to Home, we are seeing more and more families who are barely keeping things together. Like the single mom who can’t find childcare and can’t find work. Or the teenager with a challenging home life that is impacting his mental health.

Winter is often the most difficult time of year for many kids and families. Expenses go up as the cold weather sneaks through the cracks in our doors, and families like Charlotte’s* begin to break down as their everyday stresses pile up.

When 17-year-old Charlotte, her six-year-old brother Dylan*, and their parents came to us last year, they were on the brink of separation. Charlotte’s dad had lost his job as an oil and gas technician, and he was having a difficult time finding work. The loss of his livelihood and his inability to support his family took a toll on his mental health and all of their stability.

When I was 12, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I was going to be a veterinarian. I could picture myself as a grown up, helping other dogs like our own golden retriever, Tate.

But when my dad lost his job, it was hard on all of us. My dad felt useless, and my mom did her best to get more hours at her job, but we were barely making ends meet.

They tried to hide it from my brother and I, but I knew we were running out of money.

Soon, my parents began fighting. About money. About whether Dylan and I could hear them fighting. About everything.

I started helping out as much as I could. I took Dylan to kindergarten, since my mom had to be at work early and my dad needed to wait in line at job fairs.

I didn’t really have time to be a kid myself anymore.

I was so worried all the time that it became hard to focus at school. My grades started slipping, and my dream of becoming a veterinarian started to feel impossible.

That’s when we found Closer to Home.

– Charlotte, 17

We started working with Charlotte’s family to reduce their financial stress, improve their time management and communication skills, and renew stability in their family.

Today, they are finally back on their feet. Dad recently started a new job, and Charlotte has started helping out at a local veterinary clinic.

Most importantly, this family is still together. You can help families like Charlotte’s stay together this winter. Your gift of just $25 will connect a struggling family to services, where they can:

  • Access financial planning help to avoid eviction and keep their utilities connected
  • Achieve food security with the help of lunch supplements and Food Bank referrals
  • Access parenting support, counselling and after-school programs for youth
  • And more…

Helping local families this winter is simple. Keep families like Charlotte’s together. Make your gift today.

* Names changed to protect privacy