Here's how you can help with Ottawa's tornado recovery

In the days after tornadoes ravaged the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the process of cleaning up debris has only just begun.

Volunteers will be needed to help gather, separate debris

Stuart Nicholson's son Jason Nicholson had his house in Kinburn destroyed when the tornado hit on September 21, 2018. 0:37

In the days after tornadoes ravaged the Ottawa-Gatineau region, the process of cleaning up debris has only just begun. 

Greg Patacairk, president of the Dunrobin Community Association, has been coordinating volunteer efforts in that area, one of the hardest-hit by Friday's extreme weather

"We're still in the triage phase," he said in an interview on CBC Radio's All In A Day.

 "When you stand there and you look at the area, there's so much for your eyes to take in, it's impossible to absorb it all."

More than 50 homes in the community have been significantly damaged and city officials have said more than half of them will likely need to be demolished. 

As of Wednesday, there were between 400 and 500 skilled volunteers working in the area, removing debris with heavy equipment and waterproofing damaged houses, Patacairk said. 

But after the emergency repairs are finished over the next few days, there will be a need for volunteers from the general public, he said.

Those volunteers will be needed to help with general cleanup, as debris is spread over an area that is many kilometres wide.

As they gather debris, volunteers will be asked to help separate trash from any personal belongings. 

People who are competent with chainsaws are needed as well to help clear brush and fallen trees. 

Patacairk said the hundreds of people who have turned out so far is heartwarming. 

"It's a very proud moment to be a Canadian when you see that stuff happening."

Residents are combing through the wreckage of their homes and reaching out to help neighbours after tornadoes ripped through Ottawa-Gatineau on Sept. 21. 2:47

Where to go to volunteer

  • The City of Ottawa is handling the registration of volunteers who want to help in Dunrobin; register at West Carleton Secondary School at 3086 Dunrobin Rd. or email

Where to donate

  • Many charities (including United Way, Canadian Red Cross, Salvation Army, the Ottawa Food Bank) have banded together to create a central website to help direct monetary donations
  • Salvation Army is accepting donations for furniture, clothing or household items; you can make donations at thrift stores. To arrange pickup donations for larger items, call 1-613-247-1435 ext. 228. 
  • Kanata Food Cupboard 613-355-9834, 340 Legget Dr., Door #46
  • Through Moisson Outaouais, donations of clothing, personal hygiene products and non-perishable food are being accepted and distributed from the former Sears store at Galeries de Hull between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m.
  • Food and monetary donations can be made to the Ottawa Food Bank; visit their website for drop-off locations

The City of Ottawa has also opened several support centres for those affected by the storm that will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

O​​fficials from Hydro Ottawa, the Canadian Red Cross, the Insurance Bureau of Canada and other organizations will be present at locations in Ottawa to offer advice.

Here's where to find help:

  • Nepean Sportsplex, 1707 Woodroffe Ave.
  • Greenboro Community Centre, 363 Lorry Greenberg Dr.
  • West Carleton Secondary School, 3086 Dunrobin Rd. 
  • In Gatineau, visit the Centre communautaire Père-Arthur-Guertin, 16 rue Bériault
  • Visit CBC Ottawa's Tornado Community Connector page to see offers of help from the community