The pandemic has brought into sharp focus the enormous strain many individuals and families face as they struggle to access the basics of life. When people are unable to find food, shelter, and everyday essentials, their time and attention is consumed by survival. But United Way envisions a strong and resilient community where everyone thrives—not just survives.

That’s why our community came together this summer to support the second Basic Needs Round-Up, a city-wide initiative to help ensure everyone can access their basic needs and the resources they need to get out of poverty and see a brighter tomorrow. More than 200 families across every corner of Calgary rounded up and donated essential items that our most vulnerable citizens struggle to afford, like hygiene products, baby supplies, bus tickets, grocery store gift cards, cleaning supplies, technology devices, and more.

As a collaborative initiative between United Way, the Calgary Stampede, Women in Need Society (WINS), Ismaili CIVIC, IKEA, Electronic Recycling Association (ERA), and Nextdoor Canada, the Basic Needs Round-Up was expanded to offer new and flexible ways for people to give back this year. Calgarians were able to participate in one of two ways: either by having their donations picked up from their homes or by driving through our drop-off spot in the IKEA parking lot, where volunteers accepted donations. With access to technology becoming critically important during the pandemic, ERA was on-site to collect donations of devices that many would otherwise be unable to afford.

Our collective impact

From individuals, families, and volunteers who stepped up, to companies that organized their own donation drives, to creative, neighbourhood-wide round-ups, the community impact was nothing short of incredible.

With hundreds of people donating and dozens of volunteers helping, we were able to round up enough basic needs items to distribute to 29 total basic needs-serving organizations and Community Hubs—including $4,630 in gift cards to help people access food and transportation on their own terms. Every donation sent ripples of kindness through our community, as essential items went on to support countless people in need through a variety of local programs and services.

The Round-Up wouldn’t have been possible without all of us working together. We sincerely thank our partners, volunteers, donors, and community for supporting the event and helping create greater impact. United, we truly make the biggest difference!


Give today, improve local lives

Couldn’t make the Basic Needs Round-Up but still want to support? You can help ensure everyone in our community has access to their basic needs and the resources they need to get out of poverty.

If you can, please give today. Every donation improves local lives, helping people across Calgary and area see a brighter tomorrow.

Donate now