It’s hard to believe that February is behind us and we have welcomed the third month of 2018. As we prepare our 2017 Annual Report, our team reflects on the amazing year we’ve had and the many accomplishments achieved with the help of our volunteers, donors, and staff. Beyond the important work we do every day, we have had many amazing highlights throughout 2017 that we want to share with you. We know that many of you reading this were instrumental in making these highlights possible – thank you so much for everything you do, we are so proud to celebrate these accomplishments together!
1. 2017 – the most meals we have ever produced in a year!
This was truly a year for the record books, as we produced more meals in 2017 than ever before in our organizations 52 years in operation. We produced an amazing 572,976 meals in our facility which were nutritiously prepared for our community members in need of our support – an increase of 23% from 2016. On an average day, we produce nearly 2,500 meals from our kitchen!
- The People we Served
So where did these 572,000 meals go? Directly to the individuals, families, students, and community groups which we serve in our three core programs: Home Meal Delivery, Student Programs, and Group Meals. On average, we served over 5000 Calgarians each month.
- Two million meals made from our new 80th Ave Location!
This November we celebrated reaching an exciting milestone, producing our two millionth meal from the new building! In a short four years since entering our new home, the growth of our programs brought this impressive number along faster than we ever imaged.
- Staff growth – new positions, new faces, etc. We are officially running out of office space! In 2017 we introduced five new positions within the organization; a Major Giving Coordinator in fund development, a Volunteer Intake and Engagement Coordinator, an additional Cook and Production Assistant in our kitchen, and an HR Assistant.
- 135 New Volunteers Join the Team!
With the help of our new Volunteer Intake & Engagement Coordinator, we welcomed 135 new volunteers in 2017! A wonderful and welcome addition to our team to who will ensure that we visit nearly 750 homes every day of delivery, while continuing our streak of never having missed a meal delivery in over 52 years.
- Serving the Next Generation: Student Programs Continue to Grow!
Most Calgarians associate Calgary Meals on Wheels with serving a senior audience, but many are unaware that we have been serving vulnerable students with nutritious meals since 2000. In 2017, we began serving 5 additional school with nutritious meals and snacks. Through our own programs and community partnerships, we currently serve 30 schools and over 3100 students in Calgary and area. Our core Hot Soup Program has nearly doubled since we entered our new home in 2013.
- New Equipment – Our First Refrigerated Van & new Cyrovac Wrapping Machine
In 2017, we added our first freezer van to our fleet, and our production team celebrated the purchase of a new cryovac machine. The purchase of a freezer van was truly essential and enabled us to increase efficiency in our deliveries and serve more schools beyond the city limits in Okotoks. Our Cyrovac Machine was much needed and reduced the amount of packaging needed for menu items, was more time efficient for our staff, and importantly increased the shelf life of our food products.
- YYC Hot Chocolate Fest Takes Off!
Our YYC Hot Chocolate Fest exploded and raised over $35,000! In the previous five years, the cumulative funds raised was under $35,000 – so this year was a tremendous increase! Thank you to everyone who has supported this event which started with the humblest of beginnings and has grown into our most signature event.
- New Full Client Support Program
Through the support of the Calgary Foundation, in 2017 we launched a new initiative within our Home Meal Delivery Program, titled Full Client Support. This initiative supports Calgarians facing unforeseen challenges and acts as a supportive resource to bridge their transition through this difficult time by providing meals 7 days a week at no cost. Since launching the pilot we have seen enormous value in the program for Calgarians and have confirmed that in 2018 not only will the program continue beyond the pilot year, but we will double the number of clients we can support with this resource.
- Staff / volunteer milestones
We are so proud of the many champions of our cause, including the over 40 volunteers and 4 groups who have been giving their time to our cause for over 20 years. In 2017 we celebrated some significant milestones for our staff and volunteers. Two drivers, Bob and George reached their five year work anniversary, and our Fund Development Assistant Jill celebrated her 10 year anniversary! One special volunteer reached an amazing 40 year volunteer milestone and two volunteers reach a 25 year volunteer milestone – incredible!
- Our new Spokesperson – Phoenix Phillips In December of 2017, we announced the partnership with our new spokesperson Phoenix Phillips! Phoenix is an engaged community member who is passionate for championing our cause. To read more about this exciting partnership, read our blog story linked here!
- A Successful Giving Tuesday
This year our Fund Development team decided to use Giving Tuesday to launch into the holiday season. One of our loyal donors agreed to be our matching sponsor for the day giving Calgarians an extra incentive to donate on November 28th. We set a goal of $5,000, the approximate amount it would take to support our Home Meal Delivery Clients and Hot Soup students on that very day, with matching funds up to $7,500. Not only did we reach out goal, but we exceeded our matching gift limit, raising over $8,000!
- Calgary Flames Foundation Surprise our Client Izora
The Calgary Flames have been a dedicated supporter of Calgary Meals on Wheels for a number of years. In 2017, they featured a holiday campaign “Be the Reason this Season”, which featured the foundation supporting the everyday citizens of Calgary in extraordinary ways including our own client Izora! She was treated to a special night at the Calgary Philharmonic for a private show with members of the Flames. You can watch the full heart warming video here!
14. New Regional Partner – Langdon!
Did you know that Calgary Meals on Wheels serves our outlying communities, including Chestermere, Longview, Wheatland. Strathmore, Cochrane, and now – Langdon! We provide our nutritious meals to these communities that they distribute to their members in need. With our expertise and logistical capacity, we’re happy to support these communities who want their citizens to live healthy and independent lives!
15. Birdies for Kids
In 2017 we were selected as a benefitting recipient of the Shaw Charity Classic’s Birdies for Kids Campaign for the first year ever! Donations received within the campaign time frame were matched up to 50% with monies supporting our Hot Soup Program. Within this campaign, our total donations of $8,975 was matched by Birdies for Kids, creating an additional $4,487.50 for our vulnerable students! A huge thank you to all who donated, including the Calgary Children’s Foundation & McLeod Law! PS, we are back in Birdies again this year so if you were interested in supporting – you can donate here!
16. New Menu Items
With extra hands on deck in our kitchen, we introduced a delicious spread of new menu items for our programs! Clients receiving lunch and supper have enjoyed our new beef & Broccoli Terryaki Bowl, and even French Toast with Spolumbo’s Chicken Apple Sausage! Our Full Time Baker has been hard at work whipping up new pastries, baked goods, and desserts including our new black forest cake, carrot cake, mandarin orange bread pudding, and date squares! Don’t worry – our Registered Dietitian says that all things in moderation is healthy! 😉
17. Refreshing our Communications
With many audiences (clients, volunteers, donors, partners, and general public) and diverse programs (serving individuals of all ages, students, and groups), it can be hard to succinctly and consistently convey our messaging in a comprehensive and meaningful way. Similar to many non-profits, our operations take priority and setting aside time to plan strategic communications can be challenging. In 2017 we made definitive action to make an organizational strategic communications plan a priority! We hope the process will support the efforts of all departments, improve our public relations, and ultimately enable us to help more Calgarians in need.
You’d think it would be hard to find 17 things to highlight – but there were many that didn’t make the list! We already have many exciting things happening in 2018 and know that with the continued support of our community, together we will do great things.