Red Cross spends more money on operations than in direct aid in Slave Lake

People across the country and around the world donated $5.5 million to the Canadian Red Cross to help the people of Slave Lake after a wildfire devastated the Alberta town one year ago.

People across the country and around the world donated $5.5 million to the Canadian Red Cross to help the people of Slave Lake after a wildfire devastated the Alberta town one year ago.

But so far, more money has been spent on operating the charity in the community than in direct aid to its people. And half of the donations are still sitting in the bank.

Steve Armstrong, the Alberta director of the Red Cross, says the money is being well spent.

“Every penny of it is being spent on people affected by that fire.”

Armstrong says some residents have voiced concern about where the money has gone and he admits the agency initially did a poor job of talking about its work in the town. It’s now trying to change that.

It recently posted a report detailing the donations.

Roughly $770,000 first went to helping people with emergency rent, food and clothing. It also funded various programs, including an anti-bullying project and hot lunches in schools and daycares when evacuees returned. In all, the Red Cross says it aided 4,500 people and is still working with about 400 families.

The library burned in the fire, so the Red Cross spent another $400,000 to rent a temporary location for two years. Armstrong says it was important to give the community a meeting place.

The Red Cross says it has spent just over $1.5 million on its own operations — the costs of running a charity, Armstrong says.

About $815,000 went to transporting and housing aid workers, $229,000 to renting an office in the town and $529,000 to pay staff and help volunteers with incidentals.

There were initially 350 volunteers on site. The local Red Cross office now has five paid staff and another five volunteers. The agency plans to keep the office open in Slave Lake indefinitely, but that cost won’t come out of the Slave Lake pool of money.

That leaves $2.8 million.

About $800,000 will be set aside for ongoing recovery work in the town and $2 million is going to a new community projects fund. A committee is accepting ideas from residents and organizations —anything from a Boy Scout trip to a sports tournament.

Just Posted

Kinky campground turned down in Red Deer County

County’s municipal planning commission said campground didn’t meet regulations

Red Deerians can help improve Red Deer’s transit system

Citizen input survey is available until Aug. 6 on city’s website

Crops looking good halfway to harvest

Coming off a lousy 2018, farmers having a much better year

Adriana LaGrange tops Alberta ministers’ office costs in May

The costs accumulated by three central Alberta MLAs serving as cabinet ministers… Continue reading

Opinion: RCMP and military legal settlements ignore accountability

If you asked Canadians which institutions stand at the heart of our… Continue reading

‘Joker’ and Fred Rogers drama among galas set for Toronto film festival

TORONTO — A standalone Joker film starring Joaquin Phoenix, a drama featuring… Continue reading

These mannequins aren’t for fashion. They’re for medical training

Lying on the table, surrounded by two nurses, a woman shrieks in… Continue reading

Lamoureux twins start foundation to help disadvantaged kids

BISMARCK, N.D. — Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, stars of the United… Continue reading

Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse wins second gold at world aquatics championship

GWANGJU, Korea, Republic Of — Canadian swimmer Kylie Masse has defended her… Continue reading

Pitt, DiCaprio and Robbie reconcile a changing Hollywood

LOS ANGELES — Once upon a time, not too far from Hollywood,… Continue reading

Toronto-raised sexologist Shan Boodram on winning ‘The Game of Desire’

Toronto-raised sex educator Shan Boodram wants to bring a more “human approach”… Continue reading

Oland murder case highlights costs required for successful defence

FREDERICTON — Dennis Oland didn’t receive special favours before the courts in… Continue reading

Most Read