No one should have to choose between buying groceries and paying bills—or between menstrual supplies and school supplies. But over a year into the pandemic, 189,000 Calgarians are living in poverty and facing tough choices like this every day.

This June, you have the power to help. Dust off your cowboy boots and let out a big “yahoo!”, because the Basic Needs Round-Up is back to support local people in need. This collection drive is your chance to make a meaningful impact as you round up and donate everyday essentials that are often out of reach for our most vulnerable community members. Even when we’re apart, we stand united to improve the lives of everyone around us.

There are only 500 pick-up slots available, so show your community spirit and register early!

  • Company name:

It’s easy to get involved—sign up, round ‘em up, pack ‘em up, and get ready for pick-up! We’ll saddle up in true Western hospitality style on June 26, collect your donation from a distance, and make sure it gets into the hands of people who need it most. For a lucky few, Harry the Horse or Stampede royalty may stop by during pick-up to say hi and snap a photo!

Prefer to drop off basic needs items yourself? You can do that too!

Learn which items to collect, how to package your donation, and more.

Hear what people are saying about last year’s Round-Up

  • Filipe Masetti Leite, 2020 Calgary Stampede parade marshal
  • Family standing together at the Basic Needs Round-Up
  • Couple standing together at the Basic Needs Round-Up
Close-up portrait of happy senior woman

Meet someone you’re helping

Kathy has struggled with poverty but she’s found a purpose and support for her family right in her neighbourhood, thanks to
United Way.

Read Kathy’s story
Calgary volunteer delivering food during Covid-19 pandemic

Learn about basic needs

During times of crisis, basic needs may change as much as the people who need help. Read how basic needs are evolving due to the pandemic.

Read blog
Group of people celebrating a big round-up of basic needs items for the Calgary Stampede Basic Needs Round-Up

Discover our partnership

See how we’re collaborating with the Calgary Stampede, WINS, Ismaili CIVIC, ERA, IKEA, and Nextdoor to create greater impact through the Round-Up.

Read blog

Frequently Asked Questions

There are two ways to participate in the Basic Needs Round-Up on June 26—either by having your items picked up or dropping them off at our designated drop-off spot.

Enjoy a pick-up (registration required)

  1. Sign up for a pick-up within Calgary’s city limits.
    • After you sign up, you will receive an email confirming your pick-up and a reminder email closer to event day.
  2. Round up your basic needs items. A list of items to include can be found in the next section.
  3. Pack up your items in a bag or box and label it. See more details in the How should I package my donation? section.
  4. Get ready for your pick-up on June 26:
    • Have your packaged items ready for pick-up by 9:45 a.m. Leave your donation package(s) outside on your front steps, porch, doorway, or driveway. Pick-ups will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  5. Get decked out in your best Western wear and wave to our Calgary Stampede volunteers as they drive by, honk, and pick up your items from a distance.

Drop off your items (no registration required)

  1. Round up your basic needs items. A list of items to include can be found in the next section.
  2. Pack up your items in a bag or box and label it. See more details in the How should I package my donation? section.
  3. Drop off your donation package(s) on June 26:
    • Drive through our designated drop-off spot in the IKEA parking lot: 8000 11 St SE.
    • The drop-off spot will be active from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there will be signage to guide you as you approach IKEA.
    • Our volunteers will gladly accept your packaged items on the spot!

Use #UnitedApart when posting on social media to capture all the fun! Yahoo!

Here is a list of items our community needs most—all to be donated new, unless otherwise specified.

  • Gift cards: grocery and food stores.
  • Transportation: Calgary Transit tickets.
  • Hygiene items: shampoo, soap, deodorant, sunscreen, menstrual supplies, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hairbrushes, nail polish, lip balm. (Please exclude razors and mouthwash.)
  • Baby supplies: diapers, disposable wipes, baby shampoo, baby bottles, bibs, baby ointment/creams, onesies, blankets.
  • Cleaning supplies: all-purpose cleaners, antibacterial wipes, dish soap.
  • Personal protective equipment: hand sanitizers, face masks for kids and adults.
  • Technology devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops. (Note that devices can be used, as long as they are in working condition and not broken—they will be refurbished and distributed by the Electronic Recycling Association.)
  • Activity kits for kids and seniors: knitting/crocheting supplies, puzzles, crosswords, colouring books, crayons/pencil crayons, Play-doh, skipping ropes. (Please avoid small objects that can be swallowed; please exclude books.)
  • Passes to family-friendly activities once open: Calgary Zoo, TELUS Spark Science Centre, Heritage Park, Calaway Park, Studio Bell, local museums, etc.

We ask that you exclude the following items from your package:

  • Razors
  • Mouthwash
  • Small objects that can be swallowed
  • Food items (perishable and unperishable)

We are also unable to accept the below; however, please consider donating these items to WINS:

  • Furniture items
  • Appliances
  • Pots and pans
  • Hardcover or paperback books
  • Toys
  • Bikes
  • Organic or hazardous materials

We kindly ask that you donate gift cards to grocery and food stores in lieu of individual food items. This provides some choice and dignity to gift card recipients, who can then choose what they want to buy and shop in alignment with their dietary needs. Gift cards also support the health and well-being of recipients, allowing them to access nutritionally-balanced and fresh food (i.e. milk, eggs, produce, etc.).

  • Pack your basic needs items securely in a clear bag, standard garbage bag, or blue recycling bag or box.
  • Make sure each bag or box does not exceed 40 lbs in weight. You may pack as many bags or boxes as you like, just be sure to give us a heads up if you expect to have more than three when you sign up.
  • Label each bag or box with an “X” or download and print our handy labels to use. Feel free to print in black and white.
  • Then, enjoy a pick-up from your home, or drop off your items in the IKEA parking lot on June 26! Yahoo!

Registration closes on June 23 at 5 p.m., or once 500 pick-ups are confirmed. Sign up to be one of them!

Pick-up takes place on June 26 between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We ask that you leave your donation package outside no later than 9:45 a.m. After you sign up, you will receive an email confirming your pick-up and a reminder email closer to event day.

Nope! You can leave your items packaged up on your front steps, porch, doorway, or driveway. As long as they’re labelled, our Calgary Stampede volunteers will know to pick them up.

Donated items are distributed to United Way’s partner agencies, who provide them to individuals in need through a variety of programs and services. If you need support with meeting your basic needs, please contact 211, a free, confidential community and social services helpline made possible by United Way of Calgary and Area. 211 is available 24/7 by phone, text or online chat—simply dial 211, text “INFO” to 211, or visit ab.211.ca.

Thanks to our partners

Calgary Stampede logo
Electronic Recycling Association logo
IKEA logo
Ismaili CIVIC logo
NextDoor logo
Women in Need Society (WINS)

Stay connected

Join a group of like-minded people to influence social change in your community.

Thank you for standing #UnitedApart to help everyone in Calgary and area meet their basic needs.
United, we make the biggest difference.

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Registered Charity Number: 13022 9750 RR0001