Donations for victims flooding in
By: Tammy Rollie
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 08:18 am
Donations continue to pour in as those affected by June’s flood remain on the minds of southern Albertans.
Those who lost their belongings, and even homes when the Sheep and Highwood Rivers flooded their banks on June 20 are getting a helping hand from a variety of non-profit organizations.
The Canadian Red Cross stepped forward as one of the major organizations involved in providing relief to those impacted on June 20. The non-profit organization collected $3 million during the past five weeks, according to communications coordinator Corrie Butler.
“Donations are still coming in all the time,” said Butler. “This is going to be a really long recovery.”
Donations come in a variety of sizes, but every penny counts.
In one instance, children raised money at a lemonade stand and in another a Canadian airline donated plane tickets to fly volunteers to Calgary, High River and other affected areas, said Butler.
“It’s been incredible hearing from all walks of life,” she said. “I think people are going to be probably pretty interested in this for a while.”
In the first few weeks, the Canadian Red Cross met emergency needs such as providing supplies for clean up, as well as food and shelter for displaced residents.
Now, the Red Cross is assisting with early and long-term recovery needs, including psychosocial support, childcare, transportation, occupational services, household goods, rent and mortgage assistance.
“We are really listening to the community right now,” she said. “We don’t want to put services out there when the community doesn’t need it.”
More than 95 per cent of donations for flood relief go to those in need, and less than five per cent is used for administration costs, said Butler.
Donations to the Canadian Red Cross can be made by calling 1-800-418-1111 or going to their website at www.redcross.ca/donate
Another organization reaching out to foothills flood victims is the Okotoks Food Bank Association.
The food bank expanded its clientele to displaced High Riverites and in the past five weeks saw an increase of 72 families requesting food, said Okotoks Food Bank Association board member Karla Lawson.
Lawson said she is impressed with the amount of donations received during the past five weeks, comparing it to their intake in the fall for Christmas hampers. She said people as far away as Winnipeg are donating food to help out flood victims.
“People want to help in any way they can so we are getting a lot,” she said.
Lawson said even Okotokians hosting displaced High River residents should make use of the food bank by calling 403-651-6629.
Those interested in donating to the Okotoks Food Bank can check their website to determine which food items they need or get more information at www.okotoksfoodbank.ca. Monetary donations are used to purchase perishable items like fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat.
Although some of the cash donations assist with administration costs, Lawson said the amount is kept to a minimum.
Also on the minds of residents since floodwaters swept through southern Alberta is High River’s animal shelter Heaven Can Wait.
The shelter received an abundance of food and supplies, but it’s it now needs help with veterinary services said founder and president Kim Hessel.
Hessel is caring for about 35 pets unclaimed or left by those who lost their homes.
“We have owners who just can’t take them back,” she said. “Their lives are in so much turmoil right now.”
Pets needing a home are on the Heaven Can Wait Facebook site.
Immediately following the flood, Hessel received 630 animals, some of which needed special care. She said some animals were covered in sludge, others needed their eyes inspected and others had severe diarrhea from drinking contaminated water.
“We didn’t see anything dramatic,” she said. “The cost was a little bit more but the vets were very good and extended discounts to us.”
Hessel said those wanting to make donations to Heaven Can Wait to assist with their veterinary bills can mail them to Box 6131 High River T1V 1P7.
An organization that’s received hundreds of thousands in donation dollars is the Calgary United Way. In addition to assisting flood victims in Calgary, the organization is teaming up with the High River Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) to determine the need in High River.
Calgary United Way president Lucy Miller said the organization has a $1 million emergency fund and another $600,000 was collected in donations since June 20.
They are earmarking at least $50,000 of that money for High River in July and will establish an amount in August based on the need determined by High River agencies, said Miller.
“They are identifying their needs and we will set money aside,” she said, adding they are just now assessing the need in that community.
Mille said FCSS is assisting agencies in evaluating the needs of High River residents so the money can go where it’s needed. Each agency can apply for up to $25,000 in funding toward the service they are providing residents, she said.
“United Way is trying to pull everyone together to make sure we work together and everything is maximized,” she said. “In order to have post traumatic growth one of the keys is that we give the community the sense of we have some power.”
To donate to flood relief victims through Calgary United Way go to www.calgaryunitedway.org