Edmonton Emergency Relief Services desperate for volunteers this weekend
Fort McMurray evacuees are still lining up for supplies, yet volunteer numbers have dropped
The relief effort for Fort McMurray evacuees in Edmonton is facing a serious volunteer shortage.
On Saturday morning, there were only around 30 volunteers at Kingsway Mall distributing donated items to residents displaced by the wildfire, said Nicole Geoffroy, spokeswoman for the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society.
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The line of people who fled their homes with next to nothing was snaking around the pick-up facility, she said, noting there were at least 50 people waiting before the doors even opened.
They're getting tired, they're getting fatigued. However, we can't stress enough that we still need to volunteers to be able to be coming in.- Nicole Geoffroy, EERSS
"At this point in time, we do have half of the volunteers that are needed to continuously maintain the work that needs to be done," Geoffroy said.
At the new supply warehouse on 98th Street, she said the situation was similar, with only around two dozen volunteers on hand to sort the truckloads of donations beginning to arrive.
Each day during the past week, upwards of 400 people gave their time, assisting an average of 4,500 evacuees, Geoffroy said.
"They're getting tired, they're getting fatigued," she said. "However, we can't stress enough that we still need to volunteers ... to be coming in."
The Alberta government is issuing debit cards to displaced residents, but Geoffroy said that won't necessarily bring down the number of people looking to pick up donated essential supplies.
Anyone who wants to volunteer should go to Kingsway Mall, open until 5 p.m., or the new supply warehouse at 3870 98th Street, open until 10 p.m.