Go East of Edmonton Helping Fort McMurray Evacuees

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Posted on Friday May 06, 2016 at 11:48AM

There is no denying that we who are lucky enough to be Albertans – wild, free, tough and a little bit country-rock – have taken a beating over the last year and more. Many among us are finding life is tougher going and most of us have been affected to some degree by the ripple effect.

While we were still down, Fort McMurray started to burn. It's like salt to the wound. It's not fair -- but an incredible thing started to happen when the flames began to encroach on our northern neighbours. In a completely spontaneous combustion, Albertans stood up in unison to pour out an unparalleled show of generosity. Within hours, the outpouring of help from monetary, physical, volunteer assistance and anything else that could be thought of, had spread throughout the province, just like a wildfire that spread from heart to heart.

Some of us are volunteering; some are organizing donation drives. Many are donating relief necessities and money to relief organizations. Countless people all over the province have opened up their homes to evacuees – strangers welcoming strangers, bound by our common grief; hurting together but yet standing together, faces turned to the future.

It has been an awe-inspiring thing to watch the outpouring of support, love and encouragement for our displaced Fort McMurray neighbours. It's like this catastrophe is waking us up and bringing some of our Albertan fire back as we find a common purpose, a common fight, in this disaster.

Here at the Go East of Edmonton office, we have been so proud of our East of Edmonton region communities and how they have exhibited a level of selflessness that has left us feeling humbled and profoundly proud to call this our home, personally and professionally. Even though many of our communities have been affected economically, they have opened their doors and their hearts to evacuees who have come into the region. From hotels offering free stays and service to restaurants offering free meals; from campgrounds offering free RV sites to families opening up their private residences; and from communities organizing activities for young ones to occupy and distract their worried minds for a while. Strangers are sitting with grieving strangers, offering a shoulder for the tears of a broken heart to fall on. We at Go East of Edmonton are so proud to be your neighbours and business partner – you are truly all an inspiration.

The nightmare of navigating through an apocalyptic inferno is over for most, but not all. The adrenaline that has carried them through unimaginable terror is starting to wear off and the reality is starting to sink in. For many of these people, there may be nothing to go back to. They have no idea where to go from here. Just last week, they had a full life – a job, a home, a future. Today, they don't know where they'll end up and how they will start over, if indeed their job and their home are in among the lost. Let's continue to stand and support these hurting souls.

Go East of Edmonton would like to extend a special word of thanks to all of the firefighters and other emergency responders – many of whom are from right here in the East of Edmonton region - who have been working diligently and tirelessly through the thick of this out-of-control fire. You are our heroes and we salute you. We are grateful for your service beyond what any words can express. So we just say THANK YOU with all our hearts.

If you are a person wanting to help with relief efforts but you're not sure what to contribute and where, one of the best options is to donate financial assistance to a relief organization, like Red Cross - the provincial and federal government will match your donation. This is what we, the staff of Go East of Edmonton, have chosen to do as our act of support.

We have also been taking calls and helping evacuees as to where to go. If you are a displaced person from the evacuated areas, we at Go East of Edmonton have information on many resources available to you. You can visit our website, email us or call and we'll be glad to point you in the right direction.

Phone or text: 780-632-9335
Email: goeastofyeg@gmail.com
Website: www.goeastofedmonton.com
Facebook: Go East of Edmonton
Twitter: @goeastofyeg

Author: Go East of Edmonton