CORNWALL, Ont. – The local Red Cross disaster management team coordinator says donations have been pouring in to help victims of the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta.
The massive 850 square kilometer blaze has forced thousands of residents from their homes – some 25,000 remain in oilfield work camps north of Fort McMurray.
“We’ve already had a lot of people coming in already at the office…I know I went with her (Red Cross Executive Director Debbie Sauve) to the bank to make a deposit…it was a lot of people coming in giving a lot of money. It was amazing,” said Allan Jensen, coordinator for the Red Cross disaster management team in Stormont-Dundas-Glengarrry, Prescott-Russell, Leeds-Grenville.
For people wondering if they can donate physical items, Jensen said they are not equipped to handle it.
“We’re not able to handle physical donations. Please donate money and then, what we do, when we’re in the community the monies that are collected, we actually purchase the materials right in the area of the affected area to help boost that economy as well,” he said.
The Alberta wildfire has also touched Jensen personally – his daughter and her husband and Jensen’s granddaughter are flying to Ottawa today after losing their home to the flames.
“My wife and I also have family in Fort McMurray…they lost everything as well. We are very fortunate, we just found out that they’re going to be coming home tomorrow (Friday), we’re picking them up at the airport,” Jensen told CNW Thursday night .
“We found out in the last 24 hours their home is gone. They stayed in a camp north of Fort McMurray for a couple of days and now they just got flown out of there to Edmonton…they really don’t know what they’re going to do in the future yet,” he said.
Jensen has also heard from people in the United Counties whose relatives or friends are affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires.
You can donate online.
You can also send a donation by cell phone by texting REDCROSS to 30333 to send $5 or text FIRES to 45678 to send $10. You can also visit the Red Cross Cornwall office at 165 Montreal Road or phone 613-932-0231.
The federal government is matching donations to the Red Cross for those displaced by the inferno.