On November 22, I officially launched the 25thAnnual Mayor's Christmas Food Drive in support of the Calgary Food Bank.
Many people refer to the holiday season as a season of giving. I would say, however, that this year we have witnessed how Calgarians share their generosity all year long. In the aftermath of the floods that affected so much of our city, Calgarians gave their time, money, and other goods, to help those in need.
The need has not gone away. Many residents may have to make difficult decisions because of financial pressures brought on by the floods, and there are many more who were struggling to make ends meet long before the rivers breached their banks.
Over the last year, the Calgary Food Bank distributed more than 73,000 hampers. In addition to hampers to assist families and individuals with an emergency need, the Food Bank has a number of specialty programs to help those in unique circumstances. The coordination of services between the Food Bank and other community agencies means that 82% of all clients at the Food Bank visited three times or fewer in their lifetime; 41% of all clients have only used the Food Bank once (Source). As we learned this past summer, none of know when our own need might arise, and we are fortunate to have an organization like the Calgary Food Bank in our midst to help us through the tough times. Last year, Calgarians helped raise $540,000 worth of food and cash donations through the Mayor's Food Drive. Please join me in beating that amount this year. Together, we can make sure that our community is hunger-free. You can donate food at any of our partner locations or make a cash donation online
This column was originally published in the Calgary Herald on October 19, 2013--just prior to the 2013 municipal election.
Three years ago, you took a chance, and gave me the incredible opportunity to be your mayor. Thank you.
This year, the Economist ranked Calgary as one of the top five cities in the world in which to live.
Together, we've created a place where there is opportunity for all. We continue to attract business and people to live, work, invest, and raise families here.
Calgarians are proud to live here, excited about our potential, and happy about the services they receive from their city. And we do it all with the lowest property taxes of any major city in Canada.
Certainly, this summer, we proved to the world how blessed we are to live in a place where government works so well, where public servants keep us safe every day, and where citizens look after one another.
Three years ago, I presented 12 Better Ideas. I'm happy to report that we have accomplished or made significant progress on 10 of them, including building major road infrastructure, four new recreation centres, and three new libraries, and creating a long range plan for Calgary Transit - as well as making your city government work better.
I'm proud of what your City Council has done over the last three years, and I encourage you to learn more about our record by reading the report card at nenshi.ca/3yearsofprogress.
But it almost feels like we are having two different elections: one on the street and one in the newspaper. Reading this paper and others, you'd think people were really angry, that our growth was in jeopardy, and that we are suffering from ruinous taxes.
You've been given incomplete and mi