Calgary charity Brown Bagging for Calgary's kids makes school lunches for needy children.

5 Calgary charities to donate to

What are your favourite Calgary charities to donate to?

Calgary charity Brown Bagging for Calgary's kids makes school lunches for needy children.
Hundreds if not thousands of people can be impacted by the generous work of these Calgary charities

Giving back to the community is something I am really passionate about. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to learn, grow and benefit from a variety of Calgary organizations throughout my life. Growing up, my family did struggle financially at times but my parents always made sure our basic needs were met. Social support services and affordable programs help pave the way for many cultural, educational and physical activities that may not be possible for many to enjoy.

Finding a way to support local Calgary charities can come through a variety of ways: volunteering your time at special events, participating on a board or committee, or donating goods and services. And of course the cash donation is the most efficient contribution to impact the community. Money allows groups the flexibility to use the funds for the programs and services they need it for most.

Here’s my list of the best Calgary charities to donate to:

Calgary charities to give your support to

Volunteer at a worthy Calgary charity
Rocking the hairnet while volunteering at Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids

Give the gift of lunch! If you know that hangry feeling, then you know how important food is to your body. Every day, more than 4,000 kids in our city go to school without the food they need. This makes it harder for kids to learn lessons, follow directions, sit still in class or have the energy to play with friends at recess.

Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids helps fill that gap by providing nutritious lunches to schools around the city. I volunteered one morning at the kitchen for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids. It was an eye-opening experience to see how many sandwiches, snacks, and juice boxes need to be put together every single school day.

Check out their sweet new sweatshirt collaboration with Local Laundry too. With this cute sweater you’ll help raise awareness for Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids and make a strong statement that you believe no kid should hungry!

Calgary Public Library Foundation

My fondest childhood memories are of the weekly trips to the Calgary Public Library. Having my own library card taught me a sense of responsibility at a young age. I devoured hundreds of books every year losing myself in imaginary worlds while gaining infinite knowledge through reading. The Calgary Public Library Foundation works to make programs and services available for all Calgarians to enjoy and learn from.

You can make a monetary donation to the Calgary Public Library Foundation or you can help out by donating books or participating in fundraising campaigns like the Windows of Opportunity – my name is inscribed somewhere in the New Central Library!

Calgary Drop-in Centre

Home is where the heart is. And for most of us, we are lucky to have a regular place that we can call home every day. But for many, having a roof overhead is not so simple and that’s where the Calgary Drop-in Centre comes in.

The emergency shelter provides temporary warmth and refuge which is especially needed through hard times and extended cold snaps. But the Calgary Drop-in Centre also works towards getting people into a permanent home eventually through a variety of education, employment and housing programs.

I’ve volunteered at the Drop In Centre several times and have seen many of these programs in action. In addition to the downtown shelter, the DI also runs a donation centre to take in furniture, clothing and other housewares. These items are then given to low income or previously homeless Calgarians as they settle into a new home again. If you have any quality house goods that need a new home, then this is the place to bring it.

Calgary Drop In Donation Centre
3640 11A Street NE
Open 7 days a week
8 am to 4 pm

The most commonly needed items are:

  • couches and love seats
  • dressers
  • kitchen table and chairs
  • beds (any size as long as it’s in good condition)
  • book shelves
  • can openers (many people access the food bank and receive canned food that they need to open)
  • pots and pans
  • new toilet brushes
  • wood spoons and cooking utensils
  • bed/kitchen linens (includes towels all sizes)
  • men’s clothing

Women in Need Society

Supporting women at all levels is another cause close to my heart. The Women In Need Society (WINS) is a Calgary thrift charity that helps provide basic needs to women in poverty and their families. WINS operates a donation centre and five thrift store locations throughout the city. The funds raised from the stores are then put back into various WINS programs to help women and their families get back onto their feet.

Donating your gently used goods to Women in Need Society and then shopping at WINS thrift stores is a total win for recycling goods while helping the greater community.

Seniors Secret Service

Seniors Secret Service is one of my favourite Calgary charities to work with every year. The organization coordinates a massive secret Santa campaign every year to bring holiday cheer to isolated seniors – over 5,000 presents handed out this past year alone. I love putting together a special festive gift for multiple seniors each year (it may even be the only Christmas present they receive).

They also work in conjunction with other seniors’ support services like Calgary Meals on Wheels as the clients who receive food may also be the recipient for a gift. In addition to Christmas cheer, Seniors Secret Service also provides birthday gifts throughout the year as well as emergency care packages if a senior ends up in hospital without their own personal effects.


Honestly, there are so many organizations that you could give to! It’s a very personal decision but know that giving back to the community is always a worthwhile choice. We often help out during the holidays but remember that Calgarians need our help all year long. Donating your time, goods or money to a Calgary charity or non-profit is a valid endeavour any time of the year!


Irene Seto is a Calgary lifestyle influencer supporting local from all angles.


  • Heba

    Good afternoon,

    I’m a mother of four children and my oldest son will turn 6 on the 2nd of August . unfortunately , I barely support my children’s needs as we are low income and im not working .

    I Would like to ask you if you can support me with a gift card to be my son birthday gift to buy for him what he likes.i would be so thankful .

    I don’t know how you will interact with my email but it’s only a wish that I dream of.

    Thank you , so much appreciated.


    • Irene Seto

      Hi Heba, thanks for reaching out. I would suggest you call 211 as they can refer you to the right Calgary charities and services that can help you and your family out. Good luck!

  • maegan

    Have you actually seen the end result of Seniors’ Secret Service? I would like to know/see proof that they actually do what they say they do and that the seniors are benefitting from this organization.

    • Irene Seto

      Hi Maegan, I’m not sure what you’re looking for exactly. Here’s a link to their last newsletter highlighting what they did in 2018.

      Seniors Secret Service works with partner organizations all over the city like the Kerby Centre that provides seniors support. That’s how they get their list of seniors through other parent organizations that have client lists and know those folks could use a secret Santa. You could definitely call up a partner org like the Kerby Centre to ask for more info or contact Seniors Secret Service directly.

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