News & Events

Donating Expertise

Shaundra Bruvall | December 16, 2023

Supporting Vulnerable Populations: Donating Services and Expertise

With the need out there so great, giving back to the community feels more important than ever. Monetary donations are one of the most common ways to donate, but giving back through pro bono work can be even more impactful. Donating professional services fills essential capability gaps for non-profits and is an effective way to break down barriers for vulnerable populations by providing access to services that they would otherwise be unable to access.

Non-profits often have few resources for extraneous programming (i.e. programming not specifically included in our Shelter funding). Volunteers with unique expertise, whether it’s legal advice, graphic design, or IT supports, can fill gaps and support programs in different ways, resulting in greater positive impacts for the community.

A few examples of professional services that has been donated to Alpha House in the past are haircuts, yoga classes, and acupuncture sessions. Here’s a few examples of professional services that have been donated, and how their impact goes beyond monetary support:

Legal Services

Pro bono work in the legal sector is a great example of how invaluable donating expertise can be to non-profits, and more importantly, the vulnerable populations that we serve. Accessing legal services is gatekept by significant financial barriers, making them out of reach for most vulnerable individuals and non-profits; having this expertise donated is often the only way they can access these services that are essential to improving their circumstances. Working directly with clients isn’t the only way to donate legal services either; providing your knowledge and expertise in how to navigate the legal system can be a big asset to non-profits working in this sector.


Integrative Health Centre has been working with Alpha House to provide our clients acupuncture treatment based on the NADA Protocol, a treatment model developed in the 1970’s to help individuals with substance use disorder with their recovery. This acupuncture is effective in helping with trauma, anxiety, depression, irritability, and cravings. This treatment is a nonverbal, non-threatening intervention that is well suited for group sessions; this means that there is no need to talk about past experiences/trauma, making it accessible for a lot of our clients. Therapeutic services like these are important to the recovery process, and without practitioners willing to donate their time, they would be otherwise unavailable to vulnerable populations that need them.

“This partnership with Alpha House has been very rewarding and I’m honoured in providing treatments and supports for the clients.”

  • Lynda Smith, Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine


Haircuts are a great example of an essential service that homeless individuals would otherwise not spend money on, in favour of prioritizing food or other essential items. When it comes to homelessness, and especially long-term homelessness, basic hygiene such as hair maintenance can become a big struggle. Improved self-esteem and dignity are huge benefits to receiving a haircut as an unhoused individual, but the biggest benefit is the improved health outcomes that comes with clean hair and a practical haircut that they can maintain. Long, unkempt hair over a long period of time can lead to issues like matting, causing that individual pain and discomfort until they’re able to access the resources they need to maintain their hair.

We want to encourage businesses to offer ‘Volunteer Time Off’, which gives employees their regular compensation for hours spent volunteering at a charity/community organization. Encouraging employees to volunteer their expertise gives them the opportunity to work closely with a cause they care about and to see the positive impact of their contribution firsthand. This can be a powerful motivator— giving employees the opportunity to work in different environments can bring fresh perspectives and ideas into your company and raise morale all around.

What if you want to donate your expertise but commuting or finding a schedule that matches up with yours is an issue? Virtual volunteering is a great way to volunteer when you need a more flexible opportunity. VolunteerConnector is a useful resource for Albertans looking to find virtual volunteering opportunities; there are plenty of volunteer postings that cover a range of professions under the ‘work remotely’ filter.

We as a society are more divided than ever before in a world that demands collective action to address modern social issues such as food insecurity, homelessness, and discrimination. Supporting your community through donating your expertise is a powerful way to make an impact and contribute to positive social change firsthand. Pro bono work bridges the gap between businesses and non-profits by addressing the resource, capacity, and skills constraints that many non-profits face. By coming together as a community, we can work towards breaking the cycle of homelessness, getting people the help that they need, and building a more sustainable future.


Ways of Caring 2023

Shaundra Bruvall | December 1, 2023


‘Tis the season for giving, and what better way to get into the giving spirit than by following along and joining in with us as we explore the many Ways of Caring available for those looking to do a little something for vulnerable individuals in Calgary! We’re very excited to be launching our Ways of Caring Campaign for a 3rd year in a row; from December 1st to the 31st, across all of our social media platforms, we will be sharing different ways you can support Alpha House, our clients, the addiction and homelessness sectors, and other non-profits in the Calgary area.

It’s not all about giving money to our programs, or donating in-kind items for our clients (although, you’re more than welcome to offer your support in those ways); We recognize not everyone is in a position to give monetarily or physically, which is why this campaign will highlight a myriad of ways you can support your community with varying degrees of involvement. The Ways of Caring campaign is designed to be accessible, unique, and engaging— whether you’re looking to be very involved with your act of kindness or you’re looking to offer your support from the comfort of your own home, we’ve got you covered!

Alpha House has been doing the ‘Ways of Caring’ campaign for a couple of years now, because we love giving people the opportunity to show how much they care about social issues in the city and we are continually blown away by the number of people wanting to be a part of our community of giving! Ways of Caring originally started as “12 Ways of Caring”— a play on the classic holiday song titled 12 Days of Christmas. As we continued with this idea, we found that there were many more than 12 ways to do good in the community around the holidays, so we’re bringing you TWENTY-ONE meaningful Ways of Caring for the month of December. Participate in 1, participate in 5, participate in all 21! Whatever and however you choose to engage, we appreciate you coming along with us this holiday season.

In advent calendar fashion, we will be UNVEILING a new WAY of caring on select days in December Follow our social media channels to make sure you don’t miss a day!

However, and in whatever way you can help will make a difference.

Happy Holidays!

Remembering Krista Lee Karch

Shaundra Bruvall | March 12, 2018

Live a life that matters. These are the words Robin Spooner shared at her sister Krista’s funeral in 2015 and they are the same words on a t-shirt she’s designed in memory of her sister to help raise money for Alpha House.

“Krista lived a life that mattered. She was an incredibly kind, generous and caring person. Even when she was living on the streets, if she had a quarter in her pocket, she would gladly give it to someone who needed it more. She had a huge heart,” says Robin.

(Read More…)

Calgary Emergency Department Donation

Shaundra Bruvall | October 27, 2017

Our sincerest thank you to the Calgary Emergency Department’s. Jen, Stuart and Chris who are Emergency Department doctors team presented Alpha House with a cheque for $5,000 in support of the DOAP (Downtown Addictions Outreach Partnership) Team. Funds were raised by the Department’s staff at their gala dinner celebrating clinical excellence.

Thank you Calgary Emergency Department’s. We are incredibly grateful for your support and all the good work you do in the community!

Scotia Bank and University Medical School Donation

Shaundra Bruvall | April 29, 2016


Another big thank you! The University of Calgary Medical School donated funds raised from their Med Show and Scotia Bank matched the donation. We are so thankful for your support!

Pictured: Abdel Ali (Scotia Bank North Hill Mall location), Finola Dksouza (medical school student), Kathy Christiansen (Alpha House) and Ismael Capeda (Scotia Bank, North Hill Mall location).

Looking for donations of shoes

Shaundra Bruvall | February 1, 2016


In our clothing room we are in need of gently used or new shoes at the moment. With the constantly changing weather it is important individuals have warm and dry shoes. Please drop off donations any time at our client entry door at 203 15 Ave SE. Thank you!