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In the past, anyone who approached a church in Calgary, Alberta, requesting assistance, might already have made the same request of half a dozen other churches. For 120 Calgary churches, this is no longer a problem. Today, when someone contacts one of these churches requesting aid, he or she is referred to a coordinating agency called NeighbourLink.

Calgary’s rapidly growing population, especially of immigrants in search of work, made NeighbourLink a necessity, not only to screen out those who merely want a handout, but also to provide the best service for those with genuine needs. And the system is working. In 2004, NeighbourLink processed nearly 4,500 requests for assistance, up from just 118 in 1996.

Sixteen churches established NeighbourLink in 1993, with volunteers working out of a church basement. Today its five paid staff occupy 2,000 square feet of space that is so packed even the halls are stacked with supplies. “Our next move,” says Walter Twiddy, NeighbourLink’s director, “will be to 10,000 square feet.”

Christian Week

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Reprinted with persmission from Signs of the Times, July 2006. Copyright © 2009 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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