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Calgary blogger’s fund to bridge cash gap for struggling workers

A Calgary blogger wants to use her growing platform to help those potentially shut out of provincial or federal coronavirus support.

Maria Jose is a public relations student at Mount Royal University and the face behind @aglimpseofmaria. Jose and her partner started a campaign called GoFundYYC to help Calgarians who are struggling financially during the coronavirus.

Three years ago, Jose started blogging. Through this process, she has been able to apply to her audience what she’s learned in school. She helps people explore their possibilities and everything that they can accomplish with life.

“So now with COVID-19, and everything that’s going on, I’ve decided to put my platform to good use, and to try and influence people to help out our community and everybody around us.”

Jose and her partner, John Christos, inspired by the Jersey City movement started by team GREYLAYERS, the AGLIMPSEOFMARIA team is calling on all Calgarians to extend a helping hand. They’re raising funds in hopes to split the final amount among local qualified individuals. They’re hoping to present as many $500 cheques as they can, contingent on the final amount raised. 

Jose said she started GoFundYYC because a lot of Calgarians weren’t able to access to the government funds.

“A lot of the students around me and my friends are losing income and losing internships, and just from talking to my followers and figuring out what’s going on. I could see that people were struggling and it kind of made me feel helpless to help, you know, to do something about it,” she said.

Provincial fund availability questioned

On Monday, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney addressed questions around the availability of provincial emergency support funds.

There are reports from across the province on social media of Albertans unable to access this coronavirus bridge funding.

Kenney said the Emergency Isolation Support program, originally budgeted for $50 million, will likely reach $105 million. Aid will reach more than 90,000 Albertans.

“So, programs turned out to be twice as large as twice as generous as anticipated,” Premier Kenney said.

One of the primary problems was the system’s online capacity, the premier said.

Jose hoping to fill the emergency support gap

In terms of what people can do to help, there are three ways, said Jose.

The first one of them is by going to the GoFundYYC page and donate there directly.

The second one is to nominate someone in need by filling out the nomination form found on the website.

The third way to help is by spreading the word with the Calgary community using the hashtag #GlimpseofSupport. Tag @aglimpseofmaria to track the movement.

Donation applicants are Calgarians who have recently lost their employment due to a coronavirus business closure. If you are an hourly worker that has been temporarily laid off or not receiving shifts due to closures or modified hours.

The approved individuals will be contacted directly by team AGLIMPSEOFMARIA. While they aren’t specifically reporting each individual who receives the funds, Mount Royal University’s Public Relations Society, as well as their entrepreneurship department, supports the endeavour.

The fundraiser will close on Wednesday, April 8 at midnight.