Canadian Red Cross committed to recovery and rebuild
By Amanda Purcell, Canadian Red Cross
Since arriving on the ground in Fort McMurray after wildfires ravaged the community in early May, the Canadian Red Cross is amazed and inspired by the enduring spirit of people in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.
Each day we meet residents who are just returning to the community. Each and every person has been affected by the wildfires in some way, but the most common thread we see is resiliency – that residents want to begin to rebuild their life in the place they call home.
We recognize that this is a big task. This is why the Canadian Red Cross is committed to working towards this rebuild, not only today, but also in the weeks, months and even years ahead.
We are operating out of two downtown locations; one at Future Forward Place, where we hope local people will stop by and see us Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. when they first return home.
Our other location is inside the Hardin Street building, where we are talking further to people about what kind of individual help they may need that we can assist with or make a referral for. You can come see us Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
We have things like cleaning and ‘After Fire’ kits for damaged households with items like work gloves, home and laundry odor neutralizers and safety glasses. We can provide hygiene kits with items like deodorant, toothpaste and shampoo. We can also give you some detailed information and tips on what to do as you return.
Some people may also need help with safety and well-being, which is why we have resources, outreach and trained volunteers that will provide comfort and care to those suffering emotional trauma related to the wildfires.
While people from across the country have committed to wear the Red Cross vest and volunteer their time, we are now beginning to see local residents do the same. People from Fort McMurray want to give back, they want to help their neighbours and they want to help this community get back on its feet.
We are so grateful to have volunteers from Fort McMurray, as they come with a wealth of community knowledge. As these volunteers greet residents at the airport who are coming back for the very first time, or help us to deliver supplies areas of the city where they are most needed, it’s inspiring to see their passion and desire to help their own neighbours and friends.
We are hoping that as more local residents settle back into their homes and into the community, they will want to make the time to volunteer with us to help others who may have lost their homes or are facing other dire circumstances related to the wildfires.
The best way to begin the volunteer process is by going online to redcross.ca/volunteer.
Or if you have a question, have a need or are returning to Fort McMurray, come and see us at either of our two locations; Future Forward Place at 9717 Franklin Avenue or at the Hardin Street Building at 9816 Hardin Street.
Most importantly, we want you to know the Canadian Red Cross is here for the long haul as we rebuild Fort McMurray together.