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  • Writer's pictureMichael Gill

Summer of Support (SOS)

Every year Helios runs a charitable event called Summer of Support (SOS). We started off with the Calgary Food Bank and then added a second charity called the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Society Yukon. Each year we strive to raise awareness and support for these incredible organizations. This year I wanted to kick things off with some personal charity to really get me into the spirit of supporting my fellow person. I was not too sure what to do until my business partner Kait contacted me with something. Kait had asked if I knew of anyone that could help an individual here in Calgary to get their food hamper from the Calgary Food Bank and deliver it to them. It was like the stars were aligned as this opportunity was exactly one of the things I was looking for to help me get in the spirit of Summer of Support. Kait connected us and we were able to exchange information in order to facilitate the pickup and delivery. I also wanted to take this great opportunity to educate my young children on the importance of supporting each other while we are on this planet together. My second youngest was keen on this and was in for helping the second I mentioned it. She certainly is a caring individual, and I can tell that she really embraces compassion in her day-to-day interactions with people.

The day of the hamper pickup and delivery came and my youngest two were very excited. I picked up the kids from school and met up with my wife. We drove to the Calgary Food Bank and found the lineup for the hamper pickup. We were a bit shocked to see how many vehicles were in line to pick up food. And to immediately eliminate the stereotype I want to mention that there were many types of vehicles in this line. We saw Tesla’s, Lexus’, and even commercial vehicles all waiting to pick up food. My wife and I looked at each other and said, we are incredibly fortunate. As many of you know Canada is experiencing some fairly significant inflation. Never would I have thought we would be paying $2.00/L for gas. And other things have increased in price to the point where I feel guilty buying even the simple things like a brick of butter for $7.00. We need to recognize the overall effects that inflation is having on people right now, and that it could affect us tomorrow to a degree we have never experienced. I explained to my family that there should be no assumptions made or no judgements past because like I mentioned there was an individual picking up food in their work van. Meaning people are working and paying their bills, but just cannot afford to feed their families.

The process for collecting the food hamper was very intuitive. The Food Bank e-mails a QR code that contains all the information for your food request. Once your QR code is scanned, people inside the warehouse get confirmation that you have arrived, and they begin to build your order. Once your order is processed, they wave you into the pickup area, where they do a secondary confirmation one the order. At this point, you open up your boot and they load the groceries for you. Once we were checked in, it took no longer than 15 minutes. We then headed on our way to drop off the food. When we arrived at our destination, I called the individual and they came to meet us with their wagon in tow. I introduced myself and my daughter and we chatted about things and then started to unload. I was so impressed with the quality and quantity of food that the Calgary Food Bank had provided. Once the wagon was all loaded, they thank us very much and mentioned that this really meant a lot to them. We explained that it was not only our pleasure; but, also our duty to help each other out in this world of uncertainty.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on time management and how crunched we are for time in each day. We had to modify our schedule to help this individual out. But I never once had to explain to my children that sometimes we need to sacrifice things for the greater good. They got it all on their own, expressing how good it felt to help other people. My one hope for this summer is that we see more people helping people and we empress compassion and teach this to our children. Please join us if you can in supporting the Calgary Food Bank, every little bit can help whether it is through food donations, volunteering, or cash.

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