Albertans have always risen to the call of duty when our province has been challenged, and the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Today, the Government of Alberta is launching a new tool to connect Albertans with volunteer opportunities during this unprecedented global crisis, and launching the Northern Lights program to recognize Albertans who volunteer to support their community.
While physical distancing and gathering restrictions are in place, there is still a need for healthy volunteers to help those in need with countless opportunities to do so. The Alberta Cares Connector embraces the Alberta spirit of supporting the vulnerable by offering our assistance, skills and time to those who need it most.
“Volunteerism is the Alberta way. I continue to be inspired by many acts of Albertan generosity and compassion. From the Sikh community providing meals for truckers keeping our supply lines open, to a Calgary woman in her time of mourning sewing masks for her community, to kids leaving care packages on their elderly neighbours’ doorsteps – the examples of generosity and selflessness are endless. The Alberta Cares Connector will build off this community solidarity and ensure that those who can help will make the biggest impact during this time when support is acutely needed. The Northern Lights program keeps a platform commitment to spotlight those who personify the Alberta sprit by giving back to our community through volunteerism.”Jason Kenney, Premier
Volunteers are the foundation for many community organizations providing social support and assistance to those in need. Alberta has more than 26,400 non-profit organizations and, each year, more than 1.6 million Albertans provide more than 262 million volunteer hours to support the non-profit and voluntary sector at a value of $5.6 billion.
“Albertans are proud to have the highest volunteer rates across Canada, and we take action in countless ways to meet the needs of our communities and neighbours. During this unprecedented crisis, Albertans understand that the need for volunteerism and social support is urgent. And, once again, they have demonstrated their commitment to their neighbours and communities through selfless acts of service. The Alberta Cares Connecter will assist Albertans who want to help at this time by connecting them with local volunteer opportunities to help those most in need.”Leela Sharon Aheer, Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women
This new tool will build on the success of every day Albertans who answered the call to action by providing an easy one-stop-shop for those looking for service opportunities. The Alberta Cares Connector will ensure those organizations and programs that depend on the generosity and assistance of volunteers are able to continue to provide support to those in need.
“We are thrilled about our collaboration with the province on the new Alberta Cares Connector. We’ve supported volunteering through floods and fires and built a platform that could be flexible to allow volunteers to rise to any challenge. Alberta Cares Connector will continue to evolve and create new ways for community organizations to connect with current and prospective volunteers who want to answer the call to help others in need.”Doug Watson, president and CEO, Volunteer Centre of Calgary
Volunteers and volunteer organizations must follow all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to protect themselves and those they help. More information on safety and physical distancing guidelines can be found at alberta.ca/COVID19.
Ways people can help
- Volunteering at food banks.
- Sewing masks or scrub bags for front-line health-care workers.
- Providing meals for essential service workers, like truckers.
- Picking up groceries for those unable to leave their homes.
- Packing and delivering essential needs for vulnerable Albertans.
- Donating blood through myaccount.blood.ca.
- Donating items to shelters in need.
- Reaching out to seniors through positive messages or phone calls.
Northern Lights Volunteer Recognition Program
Government is also launching the Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Awards to honour everyday heroes as the province responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. The honourees will be nominated by fellow Albertans and selected for profiling on the program’s website and through social media.
There are no requirements for hours of service, and any individual or group who helps out in their community is eligible for an award. The nomination submission requests a brief story about the nominee’s contribution. Nominations will be accepted online on an ongoing basis.
“Volunteers are the heart of non-profits and right now we need Albertans to give their time and talents to community organizations. Any act of volunteerism, done safely, will make a huge difference. That’s why the Government of Alberta is making a point of recognizing those individuals, businesses and organizations who have answered the call in this time of need. Let’s share the uplifting and inspirational stories of special volunteers who are brightening the lives of others and their communities during this difficult time by nominating them for an Alberta Northern Lights Volunteer Award. ”Jeremy Nixon, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Community and Social Services
The program is now accepting nominations.