Submitted by Kristen Johnson
My husband and I live here in Edmonton and have no family or close friends in Fort McMurray, but this tragedy hit us hard emotionally. We could never imagine this happening to us and now it was happening just a few hours away. We felt compelled to do something - anything - and encourage others to do so too.
We offered up our home to let people take showers and we made evacuees food. We did not have anyone end up staying with us because we don't have any spare rooms or else that would have been offered too.
I spent a lot of time coordinating on social media where people should donate including what locations needed what, finding out which places were best to donate to with the least amount of admin fees or if they had government matching or a big business matching.
Tears poured down my face as I watched video after video of the tragedies and the love that came from this situation.
We visited the downtown centre that was collecting donations to volunteer and were happy and shocked to be turned away as there was TOO many volunteers that day. We toured the food bank and then brought 1000 lbs food, clothing and essentials to donate as well.
We received messages from people in the community saying we had inspired them to donate and take action.
We also made sure people knew if they could not donate money, they could certainly donate their time and use their social presence to make videos and updates on what was happening locally.
Edmonton was unbelievable at stepping up and I am proud to be a part of this community.