Hundreds of people showed up to the Mission Possible warehouse Saturday afternoon in the hope of getting some free furniture — but instead found volunteers struggling to come up with a way to prevent a free-for-all.
All of the furniture was donated to the organization after last June's floods to help flood victims rebuild and get back on their feet. However, much of it didn't make it out to victims and has been sitting in the warehouse ever since. The organization is now facing a deadline to clear the goods out of the building.
"They could have been distributing it all year," said Ramona Cryer, a resident of High River who lost property in the flood.
"They could have organized trucks coming from High River to pick it up and then distribute it from High River — which would have been really wise — and not hung onto this building so much and just gotten it to the right people the right way, in a fast fashion six, seven, eight months ago," she told CBC News. "But they're scrambling now to get the building empty."
With no Mission Possible organizers or spokespeople at the scene, a group of volunteers decided to try and impose some sort of order.
Only those with vehicles were being allowed past the gates and only one vehicle at a time could come in.
All those waiting were assigned numbers for the order in which they queued but, two hours before the event was scheduled to end, volunteers said only eight vehicles had been allowed through.
That left many scrambling to find out whether they would be allowed in and volunteers ended up telling many that they would have to come back again next weekend.
However, none of the volunteers could answer people's questions about whether their assigned order would be respected when they come back.
Despite the uncertainty and confusion, some flood victims said they were just happy for the opportunity to get some new furniture.
"We're looking forward to getting some of the furniture into the basement," said Dean Anderson, a Black Diamond resident whose home was destroyed in the flood.
"It'll be nice, the kids can have their bedrooms back."