There are times in a person’s life when they sometimes see the world visibly changed by others. This past week was one of those times for me. Since Monday, a small (and I mean SMALL) group of volunteers gathered together and coordinated one of the biggest collection drives in Alberta for the residents of Slave Lake in the Walmart parking lot. There were many tears shared with evacuees coming and sharing their stories with us as they took the necessities that they needed, and many hugs and people just stopping by to say thank you.
All in all, we gathers three SEMI trailers FULL of non-food related items, and sent 9 ski-doo trailers of food directly to the evacuees. All coordinated and organized directly with the evacuation center in Westlock. I was honored to witness my seven year old daughter sort goods for 5 hours in a distribution center in Westlock, only to eagerly return the next day to do another day with a smile on her face. I saw people give up 14 hours a day just to serve others that they have never met in the parking lot with us.
We called Westcan/RTL Group of companies, and in under 10 minutes they arranged a semi trailer for us and supplied drivers for 3 straight days. A local skidoo group covered us for any trailers we needed. I shared some needs with Zender Ford and the company stepped up and
covered all of our gas to deliver everything to and from Athabasca (a small fortune with today’s gas prices!). Subway and Pizza 73 sent all of us food everyday, and locals often dropped
by for smiles and with coffee or drinks. There were a few local letdowns, like the three large grocery chains here. Of the three companies that could have made the biggest difference in the
evacuees situation, only one donated anything, and it was a paltry $25 gift certificate. Private citizens donated more than that in a heartbeat when they heard what we were doing.
All in all, I just wanted to say how proud I am to be a citizen of this area. Over this past week, our grassroots effort of just a few good people quite literally changed the world. I am humbled by how much people were willing to give, and honored that I had the opportunity to help coordinate this effort.
I FORGOT TO MENTION WALMART! The company REALLY
stepped up to the plate. They provided us space, allowed us to
distributed "needs" lists at the door, collected money for the Red Cross,
and encouraged their customers in any way possible to help donate non
perishables. THANK YOU WALMART!!!
Thank you Spruce Grove!