Calgary Cares: Calgary charity sees huge spike in need, spending $10K per month to help

A Calgary-based charity has seen firsthand how hard COVID-19 has hit many people in the city.

The number of families Wings of Hope for Africa is helping has more than doubled due to the pandemic.

Volunteers with the charity have been busy packing up and dropping off food hampers and grocery gift cards to families who need them most.

“[They are] people who really have basic needs. Just food to put on the table,” said Wings of Hope for Africa founder Aline Gahiza.

She started the charity back in 2011 to help families in Calgary as well as Burundi, Rwanda and East Africa. She started the organization just a few years after she left her home in Africa to come to Canada in 2005.

“We came here as refugees and I’m so happy the way Canada welcomed me,” Gahiza said with a big smile. “Now I feel [at] home. I have become Canadian. So I’m really, really happy to give back.”

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“It’s marvelous,” said Patti Zecca, who was given a hamper and gift card. After breaking her hip in March, Zecca relies on a walker to get around, so the hamper delivery made a huge difference.

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“It shows love in the community, love for people in this pandemic,” said Ajok Madent, as she clutched her young baby in her arms.

The mother of 10 expressed how overwhelmed with appreciation she is for the help the charity has given her over the past two months.

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Wings of Hope for Africa’s support is made possible thanks to the dedication of its small but mighty group of volunteers. It relies on donations to get by.

Those donations are being used up quickly due to COVID-19.

“We are spending around $10,000 a month,” Gahiza said.

She is reaching out to anyone who wants to support Calgarians to connect with the charity and is encouraging anyone who may need a bit of a boost to reach out too.

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