How to help wildfire evacuees from Manitoba First Nations
Thousands left with nothing or a small bag, staying in shelters in Winnipeg and Brandon
Multiple organizations have come forward to help people displaced by wildfires near northern Manitoba First Nations.
Close to 3,700 people from Wasagamack, St. Theresa Point and Garden Hill First Nations in the Island Lake area of northeastern Manitoba have been flown out of the region since Tuesday, when residents from Wasagamack made a harrowing boat ride across the lake to St. Theresa Point to escape the fire that had come within one kilometre of the community.
They joined more than 800 people from Poplar River who had been forced to flee fires near that community earlier last month.
Many evacuees left with nothing, or only a small bag, and have been relying on help from the Canadian Red Cross and donations from charitable organizations while they stay in hotels in Winnipeg, Brandon and Portage la Prairie, as well as the RBC Convention Centre and at the Winnipeg Soccer Federation's Winnipeg Soccer North indoor complex on Leila Avenue.
For people in Winnipeg looking to help the evacuees, here is a list of groups who are accepting donations.
Island Lake Tribal Council
The Island Lake Tribal Council is asking for donations of water bottles, hygiene items, children's toys, baby formula and diapers. They say they are not accepting any more donations of clothing or blankets.
Items can be dropped off at their office at 338 Broadway, first floor, between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and Sunday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Me-Dian Credit Union
The Me-Dian Credit Union has started an Island Lake Relief Fund. It's accepting donations to help with short-term costs for the evacuees. People can contribute at the branches at 303 Selkirk Ave. in Winnipeg, or at the Misipawistik Cree Nation band office in Grand Rapids on Highway 6.
Donations can also be made online via e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the password mcu17.
Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre
The Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is collecting clothing, especially men's clothing, as well as personal hygiene products, for fire evacuees. You can drop off your donations Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 445 King St.
Ma Mawi is also holding an all-day event to collect donations for the evacuees. The event, which will include a concert and dinner prepared by The Ghetto Chef, takes place Monday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at their King Street office.
Everything from clothing, non-perishable food, diapers, kids toys, and hygiene products will be accepted.
Helping Manitoba forest fire evacuees in Winnipeg & Brandon Facebook page
People who want to donate or volunteer time to pick up donations can also post on the Helping Manitoba forest fire evacuees in Winnipeg & Brandon Facebook page. Organizers of that page are looking for everything from children's toys to clothing, diapers, baby formula and toiletries.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are donating the proceeds from this weekend's Labour Day Classic online 50/50 raffle to the Canadian Red Cross, which is co-ordinating relief efforts for the people displaced by the fires.
Manitoba Islamic Association
The Manitoba Islamic Association is collecting money for the evacuees. You can call 204-256-1347 or email them through their website.