Calgary Co-op Working Hard in Flood-relief Effort

A combine evacuates staff members from Calgary Co-op’s High River food store.

Calgary Co-op Working Hard in Flood-relief Effort

Response is reflective of what co-ops are all about, says manager Karen Allan

The Calgary Co-operative Association (Calgary Co-op) has been living the co-operative spirit since severe flooding struck southern Alberta in late June.

One of Calgary Co-op’s food stores is in High River, a town of 13,000 that sits 37 kilometres south of Calgary, in one of the hardest-hit areas. The entire town was evacuated June 23, but before a combine was brought in to rescue the store’s workers, employees were collecting food to donate to the Salvation Army and Red Cross.

  Above and below, flood scenes from High River.

Calgary Co-op communication manager Karen Allan says the fact the food store’s approximately 60 staff members sprung to action immediately is reflective of what co-operatives are all about.

“Calgary Co-op is all about the community,” Karen says. “As soon as the community is impacted, the first thing we want to do is help.”

On top of that, Calgary Co-op has made a $25,000 cash donation to the Red Cross and its wholesaler, Federated Co-operatives Ltd., is matching that amount on behalf of the entire co-operative retailing system.

Calgary Co-op’s members have also been contributing to the flood relief, Karen says, noting $48,000 has been donated at Calgary Co-op’s food stores and gas bars. Employees from the food centres have also been showing up unannounced to the Salvation Army and YWCA with cases of bottled water, which is extremely important during a crisis.


It’s not just people that are being helped by the co-op’s 24 food centres; a partnership has been formed with the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society (AARCS) to supply pet food and products, Karen adds.

“I think what this says about the co-operative movement is that, at the end of the day, we’re all in this together — we stand together, we boost each other up (and) we’re there in times of crisis,” she says.

“We share our successes by sharing our profits with our members each year, so, at the end of the day, we want to share in the hardship. If there’s trouble in the community, we want to help. We’re locally owned, we’re locally operated, we live in the community and we’re affected the same way our members are.”

Related Story:
In Flood Aftermath, a Wave of Support from Canadian Credit Unions, Co-ops

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Deron Hamel

Deron joined Axiom News in March 2007, having previously worked as a news reporter for print, online and wire services. He serves as Axiom News’ long-term care pod lead, after several years of writing stories and editorials for our clients in that sector. An award-winning advocacy journalist, Deron has seen first-hand the strengths long-term care brings to the greater health-care sector and through his work he seeks to share successes and best practices.

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