People have come from all around the Lower Mainland to load food, clothes, toys and more into a large truck, to be driven to Edmonton for Fort McMurray evacuees.
James Cousineau, an employee of Kary Movers, greeted donors at Langley’s Uhaul rental yard starting at 9 a.m. on Friday morning. He planned to leave that same night, heading north-east to Alberta, where tens of thousands of Fort McMurray residents are in need of basic goods like clean socks and dog food.
— Kelvin Gawley (@KelvinGawley) May 6, 2016
“We just felt that we had to get involved in helping the community there,” he said.
Cousineau said he was glad to contribute to what will soon be his new home, as his company will be expanding its operations to Edmonton.
It is easier for Cousineau than most people to understand what many Fort McMurray residents are going through, as he had a home burn not once, but twice. The first fire was when he was an infant, in Toronto, and he says he and his family just barely escaped.
Cousineau also lost a home he owned to a wildfire in near Los Angeles a few years ago.
By 12:30 p.m., Cousineau said he and his colleagues had greeted approximately 50 people with donations of every size, including one woman who had spent $600 at Costco.
“Everyone is just coming together,” he said.
One woman, who asked to be identified by only her first name, Amanda, brought toiletries, toys and towels to the truck. She said she had a special connection to Fort McMurray, which made the fire hit closer to home: a 36-week pregnant cousin who had to evacuate and doesn’t know if her home is still standing.
“They would do the same for us,” said Amanda.
One donor, Maureen Kemp, said she felt compelled to bring cat food to the truck, after seeing a Facebook post from the Times Friday morning, informing her of their collecting donations.
“It breaks my heart,” she said, referring to the horrific images she’s seen of the massive fire that has destroyed hundreds of buildings in Fort McMurray.