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Helping After Disaster: Meet The Calgary Laundry Fairy
July 10, 2013
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Many neighbourhoods in Calgary were hit hard by the recent flooding in Alberta, including the community of Bowness.

Nadine, a Bowness resident, wanted to help out her neighbours post-flood, but with two kids at home, she couldn't really offer physical labour.

She came up with a better idea: becoming a "Laundry Fairy."

After seeing several people's appliances on their front lawns, she grabbed three laundry baskets and wrote this note inside with a marker:

"This might be the strangest thing you've ever seen written on the bottom of a laundry basket - assuming you've ever seen something written on a laundry basket. I've noticed your washer and dryer are not functional, so I'll do your laundry. Fill this basket and call me. I'll return it cleaned the next day. If you have the resources to wash your clothes, please pass this on to someone who doesn't. Maybe someone with a baby or kids - they make lots of laundry. Who couldn't use a laundry fairy for a bit?!"

One person took her up on the offer, and Nadine scrubbed the sewage, silt and dirt off a neighbour's clothes by hand in a basin in her yard and gave them back clean.

After that, though, no one accepted her help. She thinks it's because of our national character:

"People were too proud and too Canadian to take advantage," she told the Calgary United Way.

But she didn't let that stop her. Nadine is no longer the Laundry Fairy: now she delivers hot, wet face cloths to the volunteers and labourers working in Bowness.

A friend of hers is also borrowing some of Nadine's clothes and handing them out to volunteers in High River.

Her experience since the floods hit has shown her how strong her community really is.

"I'm proud to be a Calgarian. People rallied together with a lot of kindness - which the world could use a lot more of," she said. "We lost a bit of stuff and found a community... It was amazing and unbelievable to watch."

If you want to support the clean-up and recovery efforts in Alberta, you can donate to the United Way Emergency Community Support Fund, the Canadian Red Cross Alberta Flood Response, or the Salvation Army Alberta Flood Relief.

Many thanks to Jodi Egan (@EganWrites) for sending this story our way on Twitter.


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