If you've never lost your home or business to a fire, or if you've never known anyone that has, it might be hard to imagine what it's like to see everything you've ever owned, everything you've worked so hard for, simply go up in flames, and be reduced to nothing but a pile of ashes.
Words really cannot describe the feeling, and while there is nothing that can be done to bring any of those things back, there IS something everyone can do right this minute, that will help make a difference in the lives of so many tens of thousands of people and families directly affected by this fire.
Not only can you go directly to the Canadian Red Cross site here and donate any amount you're able, but dollar for dollar the Canadian government has pledged to match every donation:
"Today, I'm pleased to announce that in addition to the government of Canada providing future … assistance the government will also be matching individual charitable donations made to the Canadian Red Cross in support of disaster relief," said Trudeau, who was drowned out by applause from MPs across party lines." - source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fort-mcmurray-federal-response-red-cross-1.3567828
Here are some other ways you can help:
- The Red Cross has set up an Alberta fires appeal and you can click here to donate. You can also text "REDCROSS" to 30333, which results in an immediate $5 donation to the fund. The Alberta government has announced it will match donations to the agency.
- Edmonton Emergency Relief Services is calling for donations and volunteers. Specifically, they are collecting diapers, baby wipes, new toiletries (soap, shampoo, tampons, toothpaste etc.) and new socks and underwear. Donations can be dropped off at the ERS offices in downtown Edmonton (10255 104th St.). They will be distributed where they are needed most. If you'd like to volunteer with ERS, please call 780-428-4422 and leave a message.
- Citizens are advised not to go to the Northlands Expo Centre in Edmonton to drop off donations or to volunteer, as they are blocking access to the very people who need it.
- On the Fort Mac Recovers site, residents can request help and others can sign up to donate and volunteer.
- Edmonton's Food Bank is also accepting donations for those affected by the Fort McMurray fires. Donations of food may be left at any major grocery store or fire hall. You can also make monetary donations through the food bank's website.
- YMMFire.ca This site aims to help pair Albertans able to open their homes, rental properties, recreational properties, and other available space to people in need of somewhere to stay.