FORT MCMURRAY—As ash-outs, fridge removal, salvaging personal belongings, and cooking for volunteers continues, Canadian Global Response received a large donation from Abbotsford and Aldergrove, BC. Residents in the Fraser Valley responded to local businessman Darshan Sharma and coach Malkiat Kullar’s call to action. Darshan shares, “It basically started with me and my wife, and then our neighbours heard about it and wanted to be part of helping Fort McMurray.”
Many of the donations came from the Sikh and Hindu Community of Abbotsford and the Abbotsford United Soccer Club community, which we’d like to thank for their mobilizing of the relief donations. “Helping Fort McMurray” banners adorned a bright green truck from Seven Horses Transport Ltd. out of Surrey, BC, that generously let the group use their truck and driver to transport the goods. Fort McMurray evacuee and CGR volunteer Scott Rideout handled the logistics of the donation. “It was incredible seeing people in BC help rebuild our community and meet immediate needs,” he said, acting as our Manager of Supply Chain and Logistics.
Malkiat helped oversee the unloading of the trailer and remarked, “We saw some pictures on the television regarding the fire in Fort McMurray, so I sent a text message out to my friends and soccer coaches to collect some funding. The Abbotsford community was able to rally together and we were able to buy these water bottles, blankets, and more.”
“When I saw the pictures of the city and the houses burning down, I felt very upset and sad,” Darshan said. “My wife asked me what was wrong, and I said, ‘We’ve never seen this kind of fire before. I’d like to do something.’” They began right away and started collecting donations in Darshan’s building in early May.
“So far from the city, Vancouver, and Abbotsford, we’ve shipped twelve containers of brand new goods for Fort McMurray fire victims. We love standing by and helping whoever needs it, and the main thing in our culture and faith is to help others. Our donations started small, but then more people started coming and helping out. We don’t want to take any credit for helping, because we’re normal humans and we respect all humanity – it doesn’t matter which colour, culture, country people belong to.”
“I’m so proud of the community at large who has supported us. Together we raised about $11,000, which we used to buy the goods, and retailers such as Superstore and local Indian food marts gave us a discount. We flew to Fort McMurray to see which goods are needed more, to see the damage in the city, and to make sure the shipment is in good hands.”
“Thank you Canadian Global Response. They are organized very well, and are helping people. Thank you to all the volunteers of CGR who picked us up, fed us, and helped unload and oversee the distribution to whoever needs us. We’re hopeful that we could also have a future CGR training camp in Abbotsford, allowing our community to join as volunteers to help others.”
This past week our volunteers re-sorted and made an inventory of the pallets, overflowing with donations that were added up until the last minute. Darshan, “People were still dropping off items, so we even had to put them on top of the pallets! When they heard of the need everyone was giving everything from suitcases to new blankets.” We would like to thank everyone in the Fraser Valley who donated the following:
- 12 pallets of water
- 5 pallet of blankets
- 3 pallets of new clothes
- 3 pallets of food
- 3 pallets air filters
- 2 pallets diapers
- 2 pallets toilet paper
- 1 pallet toiletries
- 1 pallet towels
- 1 pallet climbing equipment
- 1 pallet of new or gently used clothes, shoes, household goods
- 1 pallet of new dish sets, garbage cans and water dispenser
- 16 volleyball boxes
- 12 drawer sets of 3
Both Darshan and Malkiat flew into Fort McMurray early last week to see the work being done on ground, and connected with a CGR staff member on their final flight. Darshan wore a shirt representing his community that aptly stated on the back, “They alone live, who live for others.”
We’d also like to thank the Fort McKay Group of Companies for providing a warehouse for helping us unload and temporarily store donations. Food and water will be redistribution through the local Wood Buffalo Food Bank Association, while other partners have been identified to apportion other items to returning evacuees and other affected populations.
CGR volunteers with a background in construction are also being requested for the next few weeks. Thank you for your donations and volunteer inquiries. Initial funds received have already been deployed through local volunteers, with food, medications, and clothing distributed to families in need. Hampers have also been distributed to help families re-establish themselves in communities across Alberta. We are requesting further donations, which will be used to purchase basic necessities for families still in need, and assist in volunteer efforts.
Further service opportunities and information about disaster relief efforts in Fort McMurray will be made available as soon as possible. Anyone wishing to respond can help by donating to CGR’s disaster relief efforts in Fort McMurray through the donation button below, or selecting other giving options on our donation page.