Overcoming poverty

“I thought I did all the right things.”
Ken had a good education, a good job, a wife, and two great kids.

“I was moving up the corporate ladder; everything was good. Then I came home one day and my wife said, ‘Married life is not for me. So long.’ This was a bit life-changing, but I had a good job and I wasn’t worried.”

When Ken was laid off, he thought he could find a job anywhere. But the recession made jobs scarce. He found a job pumping gas, but couldn’t afford to pay rent and feed his kids. “I never understood what ‘the working poor’ meant until then. I felt like I was failing my kids.”

The number of Calgarians accessing Employment Insurance increased 111% from 2014 to 2017.
34% of Alberta food bank users say they have skipped meals so their kids could eat.

One of his neighbours told him about a United Way program that could help. “I’ll always remember that little red logo. I was able to feed my children.” Ken and his kids got the support they needed to meet their basic needs while Ken looked for a new job.

Now, Ken gives back to help others in his community.

“I honestly don’t know where we would be if it hadn’t been for United Way. Once things turned around for me, I remembered that little red logo. I felt the need to give back. The money goes to people like me.”

A photo of Ken sitting on the steps of his home.


When you invest locally, you’re supporting individuals and families like Ken’s in overcoming poverty.

United Way of Calgary and AreaKen