Imagine winning a brand new, two-storey, 2,455 sq. ft. modern home, complete with $86,000 in furnishings and extras. Or a shiny, new 2019 GMC Sierra truck and pontoon boat. These dreams—or the dreams of winning any one of the incredible prizes to be won during the 2019 Calgary Stampede Lotteries—are what draw in thousands of Stampede guests to the Lottery booths across the Midway each year.

Though the excitement, the glitz and the glamour of the prizes are an important and cherished tradition of the Stampede Lotteries, there are countless hours of volunteering that go on behind-the-scenes; not only to ensure that the Stampede Lotteries run seamlessly, but to help support a number of local charities in their efforts to build a stronger community.

This gift of giving back to the community is one that Calgary Stampede community partners and Stampede Lottery supporters, the Kinsmen Club of Calgary and the Rotary Club of Calgary South share. Each year, Kinsmen, Rotary and Calgary Stampede volunteers give their time selling Stampede Lotteries tickets on the Midway, filling more than 2,000 ticket selling shifts during our 10-day celebration.

Rotary volunteer selling Stampede Lotteries tickets on the Midway with a smile.

Each of these volunteers has their own unique story and reason for gifting their time as a volunteer lottery ticket seller. One such volunteer is Carla Barkley, who shares her story:

Q: How many years have you volunteered as a Stampede Lotteries ticket seller for, on behalf of the Kinsmen Club of Calgary? 

I’ve been volunteering for at least five years now, maybe longer.  Time does fly when you’re having fun! I’m hoping to get another organization I volunteer with involved with the Kinsmen and the Calgary Stampede Lotteries next year, because I know how they give back to community charities.

Q: In your own words, why is the Kinsmen Club of Calgary an important organization to support? Why did you choose to volunteer with them?

I grew up in Saskatchewan, where the Kinsmen put on the Telemiracle telethon each year. I’ve always known that the Kinsmen are great supporters within our community, particularly of youth. Deciding to volunteer with them at the Calgary Stampede was really a spur of the moment decision. The company I work for closes on Parade day and also supports volunteering in our community. I decided to spend my day off volunteering—I like it so much that I keep coming back each year!

Q: Why do you personally find volunteering important in general?

The importance of volunteering was modelled by both sets of my grandparents, as well as my parents.  I’ve grown up volunteering.  The key is to figure out what is important to you—what speaks to you—and then find a way to get involved.  It’s amazing how great volunteering can make you feel, too.

Q: What has been your favourite part of being a ticket seller?
My favorite part of selling tickets is the people I get to visit with!  I’ve met people from all over the world.

Q: If you could win any Stampede Lotteries prize, what would you want to win?
The Showdown 50/50 —cash fits me perfect!  I wouldn’t turn down the other prizes, though.

After all of the volunteer shifts have been filled and the Stampede Lotteries prizes are given away, the giving doesn’t stop. Each year, more than 50 local charities receive proceeds from the Stampede Lotteries. In 2018, more than $1.3 million was reinvested back into the community through the Calgary Stampede Foundation, the Kinsmen Club of Calgary and the Rotary Club of Calgary South.

Rotary Club of Calgary South receives a donation cheque from the Calgary Stampede Lotteries.

One of the charities who will benefit from the 2019 Calgary Stampede Lotteries, through their partnership with the Rotary Club of Calgary South, is the Calgary-based organization, Homes for Heroes Foundation.

The Homes for Heroes Foundation works to help reintegrate military veterans into civilian life and to get them back to a place where they feel supported by and engaged in their community. The Foundation’s vision is to build tiny home transitional housing villages for homeless Veterans in every major Canadian city. The first village is set to open in Calgary in October 2019, with a planned village in Edmonton and three planned villages in Ontario.

“Our veterans stood on guard for Canada and for our community,” says David Howard, President, Homes for Heroes Foundation. “It’s time that we give back to them. They are the reason that we have community; they gave us the opportunity to live in a free society and a great country, because of their sacrifices.”

Rendering of the Home for Heroes Foundation tiny home transitional housing village in Calgary.

In addition to receiving transitional housing, Veterans in the tiny home villages will also receive social service support from partners at the Mustard Seed and Veteran Affairs, such as counselling, physical therapy, employment training and much more. The support program has been designed specifically for veterans, based on their feedback and needs communicated in focus groups.

Homes for Heroes has been working with the Rotary Club of Calgary South for the past year and has deeply valued the partnership. “We hope to expand our partnership with the Rotary Club across Canada as we plan into the future,” says Howard. “In addition to financial support, they have opened doors for us through their clubs across Canada and allowed us to communicate with their extensive network of business connections.”

It is through community partnerships, volunteering and the continuous gift of giving that make the Stampede Lotteries such a special and valuable program. From the volunteers who sell lottery tickets, to the charities who receive a portion of the proceeds, Stampede Lotteries is about giving back.

That also means that when you buy Stampede Lotteries tickets, you too are giving back. If you are interested in supporting the Stampede Lotteries, ticket packages are available until Friday, June 28, 2019 at calgarystampede.com/lotteries or by phone at 1.888.568.8616. After June 28, individual prize tickets can be purchased at the Calgary Stampede, July 5 – 14, 2019.