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Partner Agency Profile: Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary

June 22, 2020

#NotInMyCity is proud to profile its Ally Agencies. The Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary (AFCC) is a non-profit organization that works from a holistic and traditional approach to provide social, cultural, education and employment services to the Aboriginal peoples within the Calgary area. We are currently facilitating drop-offs for the Aboriginal Friendship Centre for essential items.

AFCC plays a regular and significant role in the daily lives of its members in many ways: providing care for their children, the elderly, those in need, the homeless. They enable access to cultural and spiritual care, offering referrals for suitable housing, food, clothing, pursuit of education, skill development and training; and building a resourceful Aboriginal community.

 To learn more, we connected with Melissa Roy, the operations manager with the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary (AFCC).

#NotInMyCity: Can you tell me a little bit about the Aboriginal Friendship Centre?

Melissa Roy: “The Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary (AFCC) is a non-profit community and part of a national movement. We are geared towards providing cultural reconnection support to the urban indigenous community of Calgary.”

#NotInMyCity: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your operations? Have you seeing an increase in need for services and support?

Melissa Roy: “Like many organizations, we had to quickly adapt our operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We reacted quickly to the needs of the community by compiling and providing food and non-food hampers, and launching the Indigenous COVID Task Force. This team included participation from more than a dozen partnering agencies, to assist with building wraparound supports. It included a Coordinator, Elder and mobile outreach supports.

The AFCC Task Force Team’s key directive is to assist the community with filling out government forms, creating tailors hampers to those in need, bi-weekly Elder meals and delivery services.”

#NotInMyCity: Have you seen an increase in demand for your programs and services due to COVID-19? 

Melissa Roy: “Yes. With physical spaces being closed to the public and services being unavailable, we are seeing an increase of basic needs. Our team works diligently to assist with the widening needs of the community from housing and mental health supports, to assistance with coping in isolation, telephone Elder supports/programming for cultural supports, and so much more.”

#NotInMyCity: What are some practical ways that people can support the work of your organization?

Melissa Roy: “The Community can help our efforts by donating food and non-food items, such as cleaning supplies, non-perishable food items, family games and activities, etc. Monetary donations are always welcome.”

#NotInMyCity: What does freedom mean to you?

Melissa Roy: “Freedom is the ability to securely be my true self as an Indigenous woman. The freedom to openly and safely practice my traditional language, ceremony and share my knowledge and experience.”

#NotInMyCity: What else would you like our Allies to know?

MR: “AFCC does our very best to share our resources with partners, stakeholders and community members. We work diligently to help share our wisdom, knowledge and experience to help the community better understand Indigenous Pathways of healing and knowing. We are guided by a diverse group of Elders. This helps us ensure that we deliver culturally relevant programs and services and maintain appropriate cultural protocols.”

Click here to find out how we are supporting the AFCC and how you can help too.