This past Sunday, May 15, the small central Alberta town of Slave Lake was engulfed in a wild fire that spread through the entire community destroying more than 40% of the buildings. Their library was burned to the ground, their town hall decimated, the local radio station destroyed.
All 7000 residents were evacuated safely and are waiting impatiently to find out if they are among the lucky ones who have a home to return to.
My dear childhood friend Katey and her family are only a few of those residents, waiting in nearby Edmonton for official confirmation that their home still stands. From aerial view photographs, and confirmation from a volunteer fire fighter, Katey is confident that her house is still there, but she has no idea the extent of the damage to the contents within.
Check out this facebook album to see more of the gravity of the fires. I honestly am just so sad for all those people who have lost EVERYTHING!
I'd like to make a difference here, help out the people who have lost it all. I have spoken with Katey, who is feeling lucky just knowing her home is still standing, but she will still be displaced for who knows how long, and she knows many people who have nothing to go back to.
So, I am starting an unofficial Slave Lake Fundraiser. Please, this is the time to help out some people from your community. I need to help, and this is how I can do it. Are you in?
This is how we'll do it. I am happy to be the drop off point in Calgary for anyone able to part with some clean, nice clothes, bathroom and other necessities, and even fun toys, to be sent up to Katey and her community. I am specifically thinking of Katey, who has three boys (who are 1, 3 and 5) and even though she knows her house is still there, she has nothing with her and will surely not be allowed back in for a long time. I would like to make sure she is well taken care of. I will ensure that the donations make their way to Katey next week, who's husband, Jason, is a member of the Branch Presidency (our church's congregation in Slave Lake), who will make sure that they are distributed to those in need in Slave Lake. Go through your closets, your bins of clothes in your basement, call on your neighbors for help too. Let's pull together to bring these poor folks some of the things that they have lost. If you can't donate things, but have a few dollars to spare, please donate some money. I will make sure that 100% of the money gets to these families. You can bring me a check or cash, or send me money through paypal. My paypal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org You can get a hold of me at that same email address for any other questions regarding this fundraiser or to find out my address if you don't know it.
This isn't a tragedy that has struck in some distant land. It isn't just something on the news. It is something that has happened to our neighbors and our friends, and now is the time to do something! Please, let me know what you can do.