An Overview of Our Year:

Resiliency and recovery from behind the mask!

2020 was undoubtedly one of the most challenging and interesting years Fresh Start has ever had. Between learning how to “Zoom,” remembering our face masks, six-feet of physical distancing, stay-at-home-orders and witnessing our first ever Global Pandemic- for us it became a year to lean even further on the principles, ethics, and values that Fresh Start was built on. 

  • First things FirstRecovery is NEVER cancelled.
  • Acceptance With a deep breath we made a decision to accept the reality of COVID-19 and all of its implications. This allowed us to navigate effectively.  
  • Community – We reached out to our recovery community and community partners to ensure everyone was okay. This was not a one-time endeavor, we recognised early that each person and business would have unique challenges and like recovery, it would be better to face these united together. In turn we were met with a lot of donor, community partner and government support. 
  • Perseverance There is ALWAYS a way. Between the Eleven-Eleven food truck team mobilizing to deliver food, medicine, and supplies to people in isolation or need; to our staff at the main house stepping up to take temperatures, ensure disinfecting and hygiene practices were in place; to having to quarantine, follow distance protocols and ensuring masks were worn, our entire team kept their heads held high and trudged forward. 
  • Collaboration – Fresh Start is what it is because of you. Without everyone’s tireless efforts: our staff, clients, alumni, donors, volunteers community partners and supporters, we would not have had a safe and successful year.
  • Growth –The challenges of 2020 allowed us to grow both as individuals and collectively as a team. Outwardly it brought about the friendly acquisition of the 44-year-old, South Country Treatment Centre in Lethbridge, Alberta which now allows us to serve both men and women. 
  • Love – With all the challenges 2020 brought, we know that when we had to keep our hearts and minds centered in love and not fear. We knew if we did that, we could not fail you. Love always prevails! 

Life and Recovery will always have its challenges. Collective Resilience in the face of hardship will serve us through the current situation and beyond.  We may not all be in the same boat but we are all in the same storm.

Together we got this! Thank you for being in our lives and for making a difference! 

Annual Report 2020 Stats


May 2020 we lost of our dear friend, supporter, donor and mentor J. Larry McCook. Larry was a huge supporter of addiction recovery with over 30 years of sobriety himself. He found a second family with some of the staff at Fresh Start and will have his name memorialised on our next second stage housing. The McCook family gift of the large passenger van helps us everyday to transport client’s safely to and from appointments, recovery meetings in Calgary and Gratitude celebrations in Lethbridge at Fresh Start South Country.

Larry’s energy and enthusiasm for life was contagious, he beamed when he said that he spends his days giving away money to make a difference; and he truly did make a difference. Larry, you will be lovingly remembered and dearly missed. Blessings and love to all who knew this Recovery Giant – the memory and impact of his kindness and generosity will live on through us all.

Mayor Nenshi letter
J. Larry McCook

2020 Donor Impact

Over the years, Fresh Start has been awarded many “badges of honour” for the work we do in successfully and effectively housing, treating and supporting people affected by the disease of addiction.

These successes have come about through the oversight of a committed board of directors and a dedicated staff comprised of passionate and – almost exclusively – people with active and continuous lived recovery experience. The staff guide and provide skillful recovery tools to men – and now women – who have made a commitment to themselves to seek treatment for their addiction and learn to live a life in long-term recovery.

Without adequate and appropriate funding that you provide, none of this would be possible. 

Your support has helped Fresh Start become recognized as one of the Top 10 Charities in Canada by Charity Intelligence Canada and MacLean’s Magazine for several years in a row. 

Badges of Honour
BadgesOne example of this is when in April of 2020, the Athabasca River in Northern Alberta breached its banks and caused massive flooding in Ft. McMurray. GlobalGiving (GG) launched a worldwide campaign to provide relief to people who were impacted. GG provided funding to Fresh Start to help people who were impacted by the flooding, who turned to alcohol and/or drugs to cope and who subsequently needed treatment. Fresh Start was noticed because Your support raised our profile on the GG platform.

Thank YOU for helping to make GivingTuesday 2020 the BEST EVER!!!! The results for 2020 were 160% above 2019 numbers and 1,233% above 2018. Thanks for your support!!!!

GivingTuesday 2020 Donations

2020 2019 2018


  $   6,750.00 

 $   15,000.00 


FSRC MiCharity/Website

  $ 21,330.00 

 $      1,845.00 

 $     520.00 


  $       585.00 

 $      9,534.00 

 $ 4,804.00 

CanadaHelps bump (8 x $2)

  $         16.00 




  $   5,964.00 

 $      1,371.00 

 $       79.00 

GlobalGiving Match

  $   1,358.52 



Total Donations pre-match

  $ 36,003.52 

 $   27,750.00 

 $ 5,403.00 


  $ 36,003.52 



GivingTuesday Total Donations

  $ 72,007.04 

 $   27,750.00 

 $ 5,403.00 

In 2020, a small group of supporters created a pool of matching funds, and you responded to their match. This group was led by the Matt Rumpel Family Foundation (2019 Doc Seaman Individual Philanthropist Presented by Calgary Foundation) and included the Sam Ousher Switzer Charitable Foundation (2013 Lifetime Philanthropist), Lois and Dick Haskayne (2004 Outstanding Lifetime Philanthropist), The Alvin and Mona Libin Foundation and Jim Saunders in a collective pledge of $335,000 … and your contributions brought the total to $670,000. Thanks for your support!!!! You make it possible for Fresh Start to do so many things to help house, treat and support people affected by the disease of addiction. Thanks for making recovery possible! We are grateful to you for your support!!

*All gifts are special … some carry with them significant impact for the agency that receives them. The latter is the case with gifts from the Matt Rumpel Family Foundation. When Fresh Start’s new facility was built, the need for our life-saving treatment services was too great to wait until we had every penny to build our treatment centre, so the board moved ahead to build and open on June 15, 2012, with a mortgage. In recent years, the Matt Rumpel Family Foundation systematically paid down the mortgage and fully paid it off in 2020.

Fresh Start and the people we serve are grateful to the Matt Rumpel Family Foundation for their legacy of generosity and for the number of lives – past, present and future – that they have saved and will continue to save. Their impact is truly significant. Thank you!!!! 


The Lethbridge Herald:

Fresh Start Recovery Centre ready to make an impact

Fresh Start Recovery Centre is bringing its national award-winning treatment program, its dedicated alumni, and its vast network of financial supporters to begin a recovery journey in Lethbridge which will hopefully make a powerful impact for years to come.

Click Here to Read the Article >


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