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Pay-what-you-can Resources

Exterior view of Good Neighbour

Photo: The outside mural of Good Neighbour was created by Shalagh Quinn. Photograph by Jazmine Canfield for Avenue Calgary.


We have all noticed prices increasing for food and other necessities. There are certain community-run initiatives in Calgary offering relief. These places exist to help people from all circumstances meet their needs. At pay-what-you-can shops, you can choose how much you pay for items, or if you can’t pay at all, you don’t have to. Check out these places that offer necessities at a lower cost:

Good Neighbour Community Market, 149 5th Avenue SE 

This store is a great place to find good-quality items for the price you choose, even if you pay nothing! There is a limit of 10 items per customer. When I visited, store staff were very welcoming and helpful, and I like how they sold nice-looking clothes that I would want to buy. They also provide items like non-perishable food, feminine hygiene products, and books.  

Crescent Heights Community Fridge, Next to 902 Centre Street N 

The Community Fridge is a place to get food for free! It’s located on Centre Street North, next to 8th Avenue NE. Along with a fridge, there are two freezers and pantry-style shelves to store different items. You can find a lot of different food items here. Although the Community Fridge is helpful because it is open to all, that also means that anyone can take food, and there may not always be food available. For example, I found there were more items left over when I went at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, as opposed to when I checked at 6 o’clock or later.  

The Alex Community Food Centre 

The Alex Community Food Centre aims to make good-quality food more affordable. They provide three community meals per week and a produce market. They teach classes on cooking for kids, adults, and families. Finally, they host groups to help grow produce and cook food for community meals. Their website lists programs and provides more details. 


The phone number 211 is available 24/7 to anyone wishing to learn about resources in your community. They can tell you how to get food and other basic essentials, and you can speak to them in 170 languages. You can reach them by calling 2-1-1, or by texting the word INFO to 2-1-1, or by using the Live Chat feature on their website 

Check out Momentum’s On Demand Money Management Assets workshop to discover all valuable qualities and assets you have in life. 


Contributed by Ruth-Anne Klassen