Central Alberta show generosity to fire victims

A seven- and nine-year-old who contributed the entire contents of their piggy banks to the Canadian Red Cross are just one example of Red Deer area residents who have stepped up to help those impacted by the Northern Alberta wildfires.

A seven- and nine-year-old who contributed the entire contents of their piggy banks to the Canadian Red Cross are just one example of Red Deer area residents who have stepped up to help those impacted by the Northern Alberta wildfires.

The Canadian Red Cross has collected more than $2.8 million in donations and pledges from across the country since the May 15 wildfires ravaged the Town of Slave Lake.

How much of that has come from Central Alberta has yet to be tallied, but local residents have been exceedingly generous, said Leila Daoud, public affairs co-ordinator with the Canadian Red Cross in Alberta.

“The support from Red Deer has been really humbling,” she said.

At least six local schools have been raising money for the cause while 18 businesses and organizations have signed an agreement expressing their intent to host a fundraiser for the Canadian Red Cross.

Individuals have donated online, over the phone and in person.

The Red Deer office of the Canadian Red Cross is visited by at least five people each day looking to donate, Daoud said.

There’s been silent auctions, 50/50 draws, barbecue fundraisers, bottle drives and much more.

The Canadian Red Cross will spend the next two years dividing donations to help fire victims to get back on their feet after losing their houses and the bulk of their town.

Administration costs for the organization range from five to seven per cent and the remaining financial aid will help cover a variety of individual needs, Daoud said.

“It only took a few hours for Mother Nature to take away the homes and the livelihoods of hundreds and hundreds of families,” she said.

“The donations are going to be very important to ensuring that we are able to respond to all the needs of the individuals in Slave Lake.”

The Canadian Red Cross is still accepting donations for the Northern Alberta Fire recovery efforts.

You can make a contribution by calling 1-800-418-1111, visiting www.redcross.ca or going into the Red Deer Red Cross office located at #105, 5301 43 St.

ptrotter@reddeeradvocate