Fort McMurray wildfires: What Islanders are doing to help

A number of businesses and groups in P.E.I. are organizing campaigns to encourage people to help Fort McMurray wildfire relief efforts.

Businesses donating a portion of their profits are encouraging others to do the same

Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires collect donated necessities at the evacuation centre in Lac la Biche, Alta., Thursday, May 5, 2016. (Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Islanders are rushing to help those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfire, lining up outside the local Red Cross office to offer their help.

A number of businesses and groups are also organizing relief efforts, and they're encouraging others to pitch in as well.

Restaurant donating profits

The Pilot House Restaurant and Pub in Charlottetown is donating all the profits from sales this Saturday to relief efforts.

"We were just watching the news and we know some people that were in Fort McMurray ... and you know, there might not be anything left by the middle of the week," said owner Doug Harvey.

All the money the restaurant raises will go to the Red Cross.

Harvey is challenging other restaurants and pubs in Charlottetown to do the same — and said he'd like to see businesses across the Island take part.

Cows to donate Sunday sales

P.E.I.-based ice cream maker Cows Inc. will donate all of its sales on Sunday to relief efforts.

This applies to stores across the country, and the money will go through the Red Cross.

With an expected high of 18 C in P.E.I., it might not be a bad day to grab a cone.

Kiwanis Club matches dairy bar donations

Any donations made to the Red Cross at the Kiwanis Dairy Bar over the weekend will be matched by the Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown.

The club said it had to put a limit on the amount it will be able to match, at $1,000.

"1,000 could become $4,000. Go get your first Dairy Bar meal of the summer and help out people affected by the fires in Alberta!" wrote Suzanne Lee, the Key Club teacher advisor at Colonel Gray High School, in a Facebook post.

Island Storm pitches in

Half of the sales from Sunday's basketball game will go to people who've had to flee the fire, according to a tweet from the Island Storm's account.

Chase the Ace to make donation

The Chase the Ace jackpot that supports the Kingston Legion and the North River Fire Department will donate $5,000 to the Red Cross.

"As a result of your tremendous community support Chase the Ace Kingston Legion/North River Fire Dept. only find it fitting to help the City of Fort McMurray," wrote Dean Smith of the North River Fire Department on Facebook.

Saturday's estimated jackpot is $303,000 with an estimated consolation prize of $22,000.

Island musicians give back

A fundraising concert is being planned for Friday, May 13 at PEI Brewing Company.

Tickets will be $20, and all PEI Brewing Company will donate 100 per cent of sales from the night to the Red Cross.

So far, Island musicians Paper Lions, The Eastern Belles, Joey Kitson, The Wannabeez, Muddy Buddy and Vintage have committed to performing at the concert. Other artists will be announced, according to the event page on Facebook.

A silent auction and 50/50 draw are also planned.

Another special fundraising concert for Fort McMurray is being planned for Friday, June 3 at the Winsloe United Church, the proceeds of which will go to the Red Cross.

The concert is being planned by the organizers of the Ceilidh in the City and the Winsloe United Church Ceilidh.

Kendall Docherty of Ceilidh in the City posted to Facebook that "18 of P.E.I.'s top musical acts" would be taking part in the concert.

He said details will follow.

Tour operators step up

Alpaca farm and boutique Green Gable Alpacas, based in Birch Hill, P.E.I., will donate a portion of its sales from this month.

The farm has issued a challenge to Island tour operators to donate a portion of their sales this month to relief efforts.

"We were fortunate to be able to open for the season earlier than in previous years, thanks to the good weather," said owner Janet Ogilvie.

"What happens between now and [July] is really a bit of a bonus for me."

She said footage from the fire compelled her to pass on some of that good fortune. She will be donating $3 from every tour (which is priced at $6.58 per person), and 10 per cent of her shop sales to the Red Cross.

Like Harvey, she'd like to see other businesses do the same.

"If the season is starting early for me, perhaps it's starting early for others as well."

Collecting donations

Keisha DesRoches, who is from O'Leary, P.E.I., but now lives in Morinville, Alta., set up a Facebook page for people looking to donate goods to Fort McMurray.

"Just sitting there, I was like, 'What can I do?' Me and my daughter went and collected clothes from all of my building, so I just put two and two together and was like, 'This has to happen all over,'"she said.

Her goal is to set up locations for people to drop off donations throughout the Island. She has two friends in Summerside who have volunteered to collect items.

While monetary donations are simpler to send as they don't require transportation, DesRoches feels some people are more likely to donate if they can send stuff rather than money.

"Growing up on the Island, I know a lot of people who will be like … 'I'll do it later.' Or, 'I don't really know if I should at all.' And then that just turns into not happening," she said.

"In my eyes, if you have a physical donation that you know that you can get to them, why not do it that way?"

DesRoches is looking for help when it comes to transportation. She said some people have offered to mail donations, but she's hoping someone who makes frequent trips might step forward to bring the donations where they're needed.

All the donations DesRoches collects will be distributed through the Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society.