Samaritan Club of Calgary

The Samaritan Club of Calgary fills a special niche – quick access for Calgarians when all else has failed. There are many ways that we help those that can’t access other programs or have used up other funding.

Our Story Why We Exist

We are here for Calgarians that have run out of options.

The call comes from a Social Worker at the Foothills Hospital who has identified a low-income family, now in crisis. The mother has delivered a stillborn baby and while she was in hospital, the father lost his job. He applied to Alberta Works but the process would take a minimum of two weeks or longer. 

The family was behind in rent payments, they have two other children at home, one with severe allergies and one still in diapers. The family had no food and no diapers, were grieving the loss of a baby, the loss of their income and quite possibly the loss of all hope. 

A referral had been made by the social worker to the Calgary Food Bank, but food and diapers were needed now. The Samaritan Club's Family Assistance Team stepped in with a food voucher to the Calgary Co-op store nearest the family's home.  The family was able to get food and diapers that they so desperately needed while waiting for support from other agencies.   

Our Impact What We Do

For over 100 years we've provided short-term assistance to Calgarians in need. 

We were founded in 1910 by Mrs. J.H. Woods (Leonora), wife of the publisher of the Calgary Herald who had seen young women getting off the trains with nothing but a suitcase. Leonora felt compelled to help them and assembled a team who drove a team of horses with a buckboard around the city collecting junk, rags and paper – the sales of which benefited new arrivals to Calgary. Rummage sales, garden parties, teas, concerts and dances were other sources of revenue. Leonora’s generosity has now grown into a team of over 160 volunteer women who raise funds throughout the year to help hundreds of Calgarians each year. 

The phone rings in a members home and a social worker says  “I so hope you can help this family, they have no food in the house, the kids went to school without breakfast or lunch and there is a new baby …..”

The Samaritan Club of Calgary is 100% volunteer-run, this means no office rent or paid staff, all of our proceeds go back into the community. The Club is dedicated to providing a "hand up" to Calgarians in need. The Club provides support to families in crisis or out of options only by referral from health care professionals such as public health nurses or social workers. Each request for assistance must come either by phone call or written request for assistance with:

  • Groceries
  • Medications  
  • Infant formula 
  • Bus passes   
  • Hygiene products   
  • Hearing aids and dental work     
  • Car seats, strollers and breast pumps  

2015-16 Results:

  • 360 families (529 adults and 891 children) were helped to secure food and supplies at local Co-op stores
  • 494 Layettes (a bundle of necessities for a new baby) were made and distributed 
  • $6,105 in scholarships for students to attend U of C, MRU or Louise Dean High School
  • $3,191 in bus passes given to people in immediate need
  • $7,997 in toys bought and given to Community Resource Centres 
  • $3,000 given to the Milk Fund at Louise Dean School for pregnant and parenting teens
  • $13,000 given to send kids to camp 

The donation of a van to Meals on Wheels.  Our Programs How We Do It

With requests by health care professionals, funds are allocated among FIVE core areas:

  1. Vouchers given out within hours for groceries, medications, formula and other baby needs
  2. Special funding requests are submitted by health care workers for approval by our Board to fund such needs as aids to daily living, transportation, medical and dental procedures, etc.
  3. Layettes are distributed by nurses to the families for newborns in need 
  4. Scholarships for students at U of C,  MRU and  Louise Dean School
  5. Bus passes are made available to students at Louise Dean School, the Boys and Girls Club, the Elizabeth Fry Society, the Kerby Centre, Avenue 15, Wood's Homes and other individuals upon request

The Samaritan Club of Calgary is there for people like Marjorie. 

Marjorie is wheelchair-dependant, living with her 90-year-old mother, Edith. Majorie and Edith were making it work although finances were tight, until Majorie's wheelchair lift broke down. Repairs to the lift would mean giving up either food or paying the utilities – a choice no one should have to make!  A call to AHS Homecare Team about their crisis, then a call to the Samaritan Club and the repair process was underway.     

Larger projects we take pride in supporting:

Fundraising efforts:

Samaritans pay an annual fee to be members and raise funds throughout the year to ensure that 100% of the funds raised in the community can be directed to those in need.  Funds are raised through the Super  Sales held in both the Spring and Fall at the Hillhurst-Sunnyside Community Centre, bridge luncheons, casino events and golf tournaments.

Our Requests What You Can Do

DONATE: help bring back services that have been cut due to lack of funding

This year our budget was reduced by $70,000 from last year.  Therefore, our funds have been allocated to our five core areas only and the following funding has been cut:

Your donation will help us to bring back these services for vulnerable Calgarians, please EMAIL US to donate.


  • Semi-annual garage sale held on the first Saturday of May and last Saturday of September at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association (continuous since 1947)
  • Casino events
  • Golf Tournaments
  • Bridge/games luncheons and silent auctions

Please EMAIL US for more information on our fundraising events.


Please EMAIL US to see if becoming a member is the right fit for you.


Marg Leask
Charitable Number: 129909313RR0001

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