Community spirit and western hospitality were on full display on Sunday June 25, 2017 at the Centre for Newcomers as members of the Community Projects & Development (CPD) committee and a variety of other Stampede committees gave new Calgarians a taste of what Stampede is all about at the Pop Up Neighbours: western clothing drive event.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for the Calgary Stampede and volunteers from our committee to share our western values with new citizens of Calgary,” says Brian Johnston, CPD committee member and clothing drive organizer. “We had a total of 45 bags of clothing, plus clothing on hangers, which meant that we were able to hand out approximately 1,000 pounds of clothing to newcomers and their families.”

The drive was a huge success with donations pouring in from generous Stampede employees and volunteers, giving more than 400 newcomers the opportunity to learn about western heritage and to participate in the Stampede.

“I talked to a family who had just arrived from Ethiopia one month ago and they were so excited to receive clothing and couldn’t wait for the Stampede. It meant so much to put a smile on their faces and welcome them to our city,” said Johnston.

The event also meant a lot to the Centre for Newcomers and the important work they do in the community.

“With over 400 people – mostly newcomers to Canada attending the event, it was an exceptional success. So much so, that our doors had to be opened earlier than anticipated because of a queue of eager newcomers, excited about the opportunity to build their wardrobe right on time for the upcoming Stampede,” said Nando Ortega, manager administration & client service with the Centre for Newcomers. “Our friends and volunteers from the Calgary Stampede did a great job at not only organizing the logistics along with our staff, but also at welcoming and helping attendees. This  event wasn’t exclusively about the distribution of western clothes,  it was about making newcomers feel  welcomed into the Calgary community.”

The Calgary Stampede was pleased to work with the Centre for Newcomers on this great initiative and is happy to be a part of building important connections with new Calgarians.

“It was a pleasure to bring so much joy to newcomers and their families and make them feel a connection to western culture,” says Johnston.