PEI

Fort McMurray wildfires: P.E.I. woman organizing donations

People left homeless by the fires in Fort McMurray are so appreciative of donations they began to cry when a P.E.I. woman offered to send a truckload of basic necessities.

Island woman organizing effort to send truckload of basic necessities to Alberta

Thousands of people have been displaced by the wildfires in Fort McMurray. Many are being lodged in evacuation centres in Edmonton. (Marshall Whitsed)

People left homeless by the fires in Fort McMurray are so appreciative of donations they began to cry when a P.E.I. woman offered to send a truckload of basic necessities.

Nancy Hamill of western P.E.I. has started a campaign to fill a few transport trucks with items and send them to Edmonton to help evacuees.

Hamill said she's been in touch with volunteer organizations in Edmonton, like the Red Cross and the Edmonton Relief Society, and they sounded desperate for help.

"They said there are people that are in some of these facilities with no socks on," she said.

"And they were so delighted and I said, 'I live on Prince Edward Island, would they receive tractor trailer loads of items?' And they started to cry. I spoke with two different people and both people started to cry."

Shampoo, socks, toothbrushes needed

Hamill was given list of items that were needed, like shampoo, socks, pet supplies and toothbrushes. But no money.

Here on Prince Edward Island with 140,000 people, I know that we could fill three or four transfer trucks or tractor trailers full.— Nancy Hamill

"They were delighted that tangible items were going to be sent, because with the monetary donations to the Red Cross, that's fantastic and they will be able to do a lot with that, but they needed items," she said.

Hamill said she has lots of volunteers to drive, and now she needs a few more trucks. The trucks would take the items as far as Montreal, she said, and they'd go the rest of the way by rail.

She's working to line up sponsors to pay for each driver's salary, fuel, meals and other expenses.

Hoping initiative grows

Islanders looking to help should be able to drop off items by next Friday at the Jacques Cartier Arena in Alberton.

Hamill hopes people will take the initiative to expand the campaign to other parts of the province as well.

"Here on Prince Edward Island with 140,000 people, I know that we could fill three or four transfer trucks or tractor trailers full," she said.

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