Montreal

Lending a hand to flood victims: How to help or donate

People affected by the flooding are rallying together to help out. Here's how you can lend a hand.

Pierrefonds, Vaudreuil start volunteer registries to help now and with future cleanup

Margaret Romanski (left), whose house was flooded, is staying with Rose Espinales-Alvarado, a complete stranger. They call each other 'sisters' now. (CBC)

Shawn Davidson is one of the last men standing on Jean-Yves Street in Île Bizard.

The street looks more like a river, with water thigh-high.

"My neighbour abandoned, he's got water up on his kitchen floor," Davidson said.
While most residents on flooded Jean-Yves Street evacuated their houses, Shawn Davidson stayed behind to try to save his neighbours' homes. (CBC)

He and a neighbour are trying to save the homes on the street.

"We came together like a family. And not only were we were worried about our own houses but we were worried about each other's houses. So we did whatever we could to help out," Davidson said.

Ross McLean had to leave his home when the water got too high. He came back to check on it and got a surprise.

"I was coming to look at my place and then I saw Shawn and I was like, 'Oh my God, he's here. Let's get to work,'' said Ross McLean.
Most homes on Jean-Yves Street on Île Bizard have been flooded, forcing families out. (CBC)

Since then, Davidson and McLean have been checking pumps and sandbags at homes along the street.

Opening her home

Margaret Romanski had nowhere to go after she and her family left their flooded Pierrefonds home — until she met Rose Espinales-Alvarado, who opened her door to the stranger.

"She said, I have no place to go'…and I said no human being should live like that. When I saw the situation that she was in...it wasn't about me anymore. It was about saving a human being — saving a family, period," Espinales-Alvarado said.

Pierrefonds flood victim Margaret Romanski (right) is staying with the Espinales-Alvarado family until she finds a new place to live. (CBC)
Now both families are under one roof, until Romanski finds a new place to live.

"She said don't even be shy, feel like it's your house. That's where I can call her my sister now," Romanski said.

How you can volunteer now and for the cleanup

If you would like to volunteer, the Pierrefonds-Roxboro has started a registry. You can email the borough (pierrefonds-roxboro@ville.montreal.qc.ca) to put your name and contact information on its volunteer list.

Borough Mayor Jim Beis said the registry will ensure volunteers can be assigned to help where and when it's most needed, while ensuring everyone's safety.

"I warmly thank all the people who, for the last few days, have contacted the borough to express their solidarity with the citizens of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, generously offering their time and energy to help the victims. However, the situation at the present time is such that it is impossible to ensure the safety of people on the ground," Beis said in a statement.

"Given the extent of the floods and the dangers present in the area, the borough has decided to register the names and contact information of those who offered their assistance, and to contact them at the appropriate time."

There is also a Facebook group that is coordinating volunteer efforts in the West Island.

"For people looking to help flood victims in need. Everything from food, shelter, transport to donations of any kind," the page says.

"Please note that if you cannot help immediately, our mission will be on going so we may need your help today, tomorrow & in weeks to come."

In Vaudreuil-Soulanges, efforts are underway to compile a list of volunteers who can help with cleanup operations. 

Area MP Pieter Schiefke is asking people who would like to help to fill out and submit the following Google form.​

How you can donate

The Red Cross has announced a fund to help people affected by the floods in Quebec, saying the needs will be "immense."

People can donate online or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

The money will be used to help people once they return home to pay for things such as cleanup, rebuilding and replacing furniture.

The Quebec government has put half a million dollars into the fund, and Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux is asking Quebecers to be generous.

West Island Community Shares, a group that distributes funding towards 40 different non-profit groups in the West Island, will also be collecting money for flood victims.

On Monday, the group's board of directors approved the set-up of a special fund.

"We will collect funds and transfer 100 per cent of the funds to specific groups working on the front lines to support flood victims, for example West Island Assistance Mission, West Island Mission, On Rock," said Leanne Bayer, Executive Director of West Island Community Shares.

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