A local moving company filled a truck with donations for the displaced people of Fort McMurray Friday, collecting more than 20,000 pounds of goods.
“The truck was sleightly over-weight,” said James Cousineau of Kary Movers.
Cousineau headed off to Edmonton Friday evening, and after a switch to a new truck necessitated by mechanical issues, got there on Sunday morning.
The goods were dropped off with Alberta Emergency Services for distribution to the approximately 80-90,000 residents displaced by the wildfires still raging around the oilsands community.
The wildfire has destroyed parts of the town and continues to rage, and it’s uncertain when or if residents will be able to return.
Thousands of people are now staying with relatives, or in temporary accommodations including at the Northlands exposition site in Edmonton.
Cousineau made a special visit to Northlands after dropping off the majority of the donated goods.
One donor gave him a huge number of Mother’s Day cards. The cards were given to displaced kids so they could have something to give their mothers on Sunday.
Most of the truck was full of the items residents had to leave behind in the sudden evacuation last week: new socks and underwear, non-perishable food, toiletries, pet food, and diapers and formula.
After the announcement that donations were being collected Friday in Langley, dozes of people turned out with cars and vans loaded with goods.
Cousineau said overall more than 20,000 pounds worth of items were donated.
“It was a huge success,” he said.
One woman called Cousineau on Friday to let him know she was heading to Costco with $600 she’d collected from friends and neighbours.
Lisa Kilborn and several co-workers from Star Rentals brought two trunks full of diapers and toiletries.
Their boss arrived at work Friday morning with money and told them to go shopping.
“Love it,” she said of the feeling of helping out.
Like many locals, Kilborn has a friend who was evacuated from Fort McMurray ahead of the wildfires.
For Cousineau, it’s just about seeing the scope and scale of the disaster and wanting to do something.
The firm recently opened a branch in Edmonton.
“We try to give where we live,” he said.
The event was so successful that Cousineau is considering another collection, this time in Vancouver and Abbotsford, with another truck to head up this coming weekend.