CBC Calgary’s annual Blitz Day pushes fundraising past $1M for Calgary Food Bank

Cheers filled the lobby of the CBC Calgary office Thursday evening as the 37th annual Blitz Day helped raised more than $1 million for the Calgary Food Bank. 

By the time the event wrapped up at 6 p.m., Calgarians had contributed $1,114,638.05 to the month-long campaign. The goal for Blitz Day was to reach the $1 million mark, although online donations for the campaign will continue until Dec. 31. 

Michael Pasma, interim president of the Calgary Food Bank, described the day as “exhilarating,” as he watched both large companies and young children contribute to the cause. 

“We come in in the morning, and we’re not sure if we’re gonna make that goal, and then you just see it build through the day and you go through all those emotions,” he said. “It’s awesome.” 

Helen Henderson, CBC Calgary’s senior director of journalism and programming, said the station is grateful for Calgarians’ support in a year that’s been tough for many. 

“The donations, the acts of kindness, and  the encouragement we got from our audience brought so much joy to the season,” she said. “Southern Albertans always come through for one another.” 

Calgary Eyeopener

Blitz Day is an annual tradition for CBC Calgary in which readers, listeners and viewers are invited down the to station at 1000 Veterans Place N.W. for a full day of special programming, live music and meet-and-greets.

Thursday marked the first time in three years that the event was back to fully in-person. 

The day began with the Calgary Eyeopener, which drew in crowds early in the morning, with visitors generously contributing to the cause in their own way.

Two people pose for a photo in the CBC Calgary lobby.
At Lee Mah stands with Calgary Eyeopener traffic and weather reporter Angela Knight as he announces his donation to the Calgary Food Bank. (CBC)

At Lee Mah, a 14-year-old entrepreneur who has donated on Blitz Day for the last five years, runs SodaKid Inc., a SodaStream cannister exchange service. He donates one dollar of each sale to charity, including $2,200 to the Calgary Food Bank this year.

Malcolm Knapp-Durante is another Calgarian who visits Blitz Day each year, always sporting a festive holiday jacket. He collects bottles and brings them to the bottle depot. This year, he contributed $350 to the cause. 

Several Calgary companies and individuals donated in the tens — and some, hundreds — of thousands, wowing crowds throughout the day. 

A woman holds a microphone in front of a man in a festive blazer.
Malcolm Knapp-Duranate visits each year to make a donation to the Calgary Food Bank. (CBC)

Many Calgarians also continued to support the campaign by purchasing a unique bag of Fratello coffee beans, called One Knight Only, produced and donated by the roastery for the cause. The purchase includes a special-edition mug featuring all of the “favourite things” of traffic and weather reporter Angela Knight. All proceeds go to the food bank.

Maureen Patton arrived with her sister to each buy a few bags.

“I’m always in support of the food bank,” Patton said.

“I thought this is the year to come down…. I think it’s great, all the different people down here, coming to buy coffee. It’s great Christmas spirit to give.”

Two people stand in front of a coffee stand, one holding up a cup of coffee.
Colleen Patton, left, and Maureen Patton visited CBC Calgary during the Calgary Eyeopener program on Blitz Day to watch the show and buy some coffee. (Taylor Simmons/CBC)

Alberta at Noon

Alberta at Noon broadcast its daily, provincewide call-in program live from the CBC Calgary lobby.

As part of a now yearly tradition, host Judy Aldous asked listeners to swap their favourite holiday memory for a performance by Charms, made up of Megan Konschuh and Denis Dufresen, a husband-and-wife duo.

Listeners shared poems, stories and holiday traditions as part of the special program.

WATCH | Get a small taste of the performance Charms gave Thursday:

Charms plays some holiday tunes for visitors to CBC Calgary

7 hours ago

Duration 0:25

Musical duo Charms, made up of Megan Konschuh and Denis Dufresen, joined Alberta at Noon Thursday as part of the show’s Blitz Day programming.

Janet Preston came out to hear the music over the noon hour as well as support the food bank.

“It’s an incredible way of giving, especially this Christmas. There’s so many less fortunate,” she said.

A man and a woman stand together holding coffee.
Janet Preston and John Rogers came out to hear music from Charms and to support the Calgary Food Bank. (Taylor Simmons/CBC)

The Homestretch

The Homestretch team wrapped up the day. Participants were asked to come down to the station with a monetary donation or a non-perishable food item. With the help of those that came, and a few large cheques from area businesses, the $1 million goal was reached. 

Sharon Hinayo-Nolasco visited Thursday afternoon to share her own story.

She says she moved to Calgary more than a decade ago, and at that time, she found herself visiting the Calgary Food Bank to help sustain her family.

Three women stand together smiling at the camera.
Sharon Hinayo-Nolasco and her daughter, Allysha Nolasco, stand with The Homestretch’s traffic and weather reporter, Jenny Howe. (Meegan Read/CBC)

“I am not shy to say that I used to be a food bank user, and now I am giving back to the community and asking family and friends to get involved in the community and to be part of this because I know that kindness has its own ripple effect,” she said.

Her 12-year-old daughter, Allysha Nolasco, stood by her side.

“I just love, love helping people a lot,” the girl said. “I would like to thank my mom for bringing me along.”

Make the Season Kind

There are still several other ways to take part in the fundraiser, including ongoing bakery sales and auctions.

Donation drop-offs will continue to be accepted weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends from noon to 2 p.m. until Dec. 22 at the Parkdale Community Association, 3512 Fifth Ave. N.W.

The final campaign tally will be announced on the Calgary Eyeopener on Jan. 4. 

WATCH | If you’re not sure what to donate, watch this quick video with some tips:

Calgary Food Bank dos and don’ts

5 years ago

Duration 1:12

The CBC Calgary Food Bank Drive gets under way Dec. 1. Here’s some tips of what you should, and what you shouldn’t, donate.

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