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

Small aircraft short on fuel touches down on Calgary street

CALGARY — A small aircraft carrying six people has made an emergency… Continue reading

How hospitals prepare for mass-casualty incidents like Toronto van attack

TORONTO — Mass-casualty disasters like Monday’s deadly van attack that sent 10… Continue reading

Chinese automaker plans electric car production in SAfrica

BEIJING — A state-owned Chinese automaker announced plans Wednesday to produce electric… Continue reading

International probe shuts down cyberattack provider

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — In a major hit against cybercriminals, an international… Continue reading

Rental agencies struggle with screenings as security concerns rise

Monday’s deadly rental van rampage in Toronto shows how quickly a vehicle… Continue reading

WATCH: Alberta’s revenue shortage discussed during event at Red Deer College

Albertans need to be taxed more so public services, like schools and… Continue reading

WORLD CUP: Last stand for stars of Spain’s golden generation

MADRID — After recent struggles at major tournaments, the remaining stars of… Continue reading

Maple Leafs, Raptors, TFC create perfect storm of sports buzz in Toronto

TORONTO — The Raptors are hosting, but supporters of the Maple Leafs… Continue reading

Jury to deliberate after Cosby painted as predator, victim

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Jurors at Bill Cosby’s sexual assault retrial are poised… Continue reading

B.C. researchers get patent to develop potential vaccine for syphilis

VANCOUVER — Researchers at the University of Victoria have been granted a… Continue reading

Mane Event rides into Red Deer

A weekend for the horses comes to Red Deer, as the Westerner… Continue reading

Edmonton retiree robbed of $210K in silver bars police investigating

EDMONTON — Police are hoping that they can provide a silver lining… Continue reading

Cause of plane crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice to be released

The findings of investigation into the plane crash that killed four set to be released.

MPAA head says theatres will survive rise of streaming sites

LAS VEGAS — Two film industry leaders told theatre owners Tuesday that… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month