A man, a truck and his canoe: West Islanders join the flood relief effort
Volunteers from all over Quebec stepping in to help their neighbours
He has truck, a canoe and a big heart — and Francis Charron didn't blink an eye before offering all three to anyone in the Montreal and Gatineau areas as floods continue to ravage buildings and basements across communities in the two provinces.
Charron posted his willingness to help on his Facebook page, and shortly after, requests started pouring in from people who need sandbag deliveries and help moving household items.
He says he's not concerned about the mounting water because he is well equipped. His truck has a special rubber floor and he isn't afraid of it getting ruined.
"And you know what? If something happens to my truck, I really don't care. A truck's replaceable, a human life or memories aren't," said Charron.
"If anyone needs a helping helping hand — I'm there."
Outpour of support on social media
On Saturday morning, the Pierrefonds native offered his services through a Facebook post to people who need help in light of the recent flooding in and around the island.
Charron is one of many volunteers offering help to their neighbours.
Pierrefonds is one of the many communities in Quebec that have been hardest hit by the flooding.
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"Some of these people have been running nonstop all week," said Charron.
"So if they just need a so even if they just want to sit down, have a cup of coffee, take a nap and they need someone to watch the pumps so that they don't have to worry."
"It's just to give a helping hand to give a bit of the stress away."
Neighbours helping neighbours
People have taken to social media to offer up their homes, food and supplies.
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Cassandre Dandurand is a mother of four young children.
She posted to social media offering her home to any family in need, explaining she hoped to ease the worries of people affected by the flooding.
"You already have enough worries and stress about your house, your things, your kids," said Dandurand.
She's not alone.
Many other individuals have stepped up to help flooding victims. Like Dandurand, some are offering space in their homes. Others are offering to donate their money and time.
Fire fighters in Hudson, Que. were overwhelmed by the turnout of volunteers. Dozens of residents spent the day packing sandbags. By the end of Saturday they had made approximately 15,000 bags, which were handed out to homeowners to help protect properties.
"This is unbelievable," said Hudson fire department's assistant chief Daniel Leblanc.
"We asked for help online, our Facebook page, and people have been coming in all day. It's been unreal."
Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac one of many communities banding together ..filling up sandbags for those in need. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flood?src=hash">#Flood</a> <a href="https://t.co/19rzTy0XVi">pic.twitter.com/19rzTy0XVi</a>—@AntoniNerestant
Larger organizations across the province have also stepped up to help people who are in need of a home.
Camping Choisy, a park based in Rigaud, has opened its campground for free.
Family owned business Phil Turner Incorporated has donated hundreds of wood pallets to the island of Terrasse-Vaudreuil and L'Île-Perrot.
The pallets are used to transport the sandbags. They also took the time to fill sandbags.
How to help
For people looking to help, some communities are looking for volunteers to fill sandbags on Saturday.
Hudson asking for people to head to the Public Works yard at 529 Main Road starting at 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. They're looking for volunteers until Sunday.
In Terrasse-Vaudreuil they're asking people to go to to 74 - 7th Avenue as of 8:30 a.m.
In Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, 44 de l'eglise Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac Church as of 9 a.m.
In Île-Cadieux 50 chemin de l'île from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
In Pointe-Fortune, 694 du Tisseur Street for the day.
The mayor of L'Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève, Normand Marinacci, says if volunteers want to help they can "come the city and we'll find something for them to do."