I worked in the food and hospitality industry for most of my life. When I lost my job, I worried about where my next meal would come from. For a while, money was really tight and then got to a point where I couldn’t even afford a meal.
Living in poverty can make you feel helpless. My self-esteem was at an all-time low and I was afraid for the future. Feeling lost, I decided to stop by a United Way funded agency that provides services and free meals to those in need.
Having access to a nutritious meal can make a real difference in a person’s life. Not having to worry about where my next meal was coming from allowed me to focus on other things. I accessed skill-building programs offered at the agency and my confidence started to grow. Then, an opportunity to volunteer in the same kitchen that fed me when I most needed it arose, and I was able to contribute and give back and help in my own way.
For people living in poverty, having access to a healthy meal is important. But sharing a meal means a lot, too. It makes people feel better about themselves — and it builds a real community.
Today, I have a full-time job at a community centre. I am also proud to say I continue to volunteer at the kitchen — because I know just how life-changing one meal can be.
We are all Calgary.
Together, we are all stronger. Meet a few of the 178,700 people like Alasdair who are helped each year.
How you can help
Support meal programs to help end poverty, help kids succeed, and build strong communities.