Saskatchewan rallies to help Fort McMurray evacuees

Two men in Saskatoon and Regina plan to collect donations in their respective cities for evacuees forced out of their homes in Fort McMurray because of a wildfire.

Donation drives planned in Saskatoon and Regina

Evacuees from the Fort McMurray wildfires use the sleeping room at the Bold Center in Lac la Biche, Alta. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

As fire continues to burn in and around Fort McMurray, Alta., many residents in Saskatchewan are pitching in to help out displaced families.

Since Tuesday around 88,000 people have fled the northern Alberta city and 1,600 homes have been destroyed by fire.

Paul Chavady from Saskatoon is organizing a donation drive on Friday and he's hoping to pack a semi-trailer of goods to send to Edmonton. 

"It's just part of the Saskatchewan spirit," Chavady said. "Looking around we're definitely not the only ones doing something this time around and [we] definitely want to be part of that and show Alberta that we're there for them as well."

Paul Chavady is collecting donations all day Friday at the Stonebridge Walmart in Saskatoon, for the Fort McMurray evacuees. He hopes to fill a semi-trailer with everything from furniture and clothes to non-perishable food. (Don Somers/CBC)

Chavady has arranged to park a semi-trailer in the parking lot out front of the Stonebridge Walmart Friday morning.

From 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. CST he will be collecting everything from furniture to non-perishable food items to send to Fort McMurray evacuees.

"We really want to get that semi filled all the way to the rafters if we can," he said. "We're counting on Saskatoon to get that done."

Regina's donation drive

A similar donation drive is being planned in Regina. Hasan Hai is setting up a booth at the Regina Farmer's Market on Saturday to collect donations for those forced out of their homes by the wildfire. 

"At the end of the day when people are suffering, what we as Canadians and humans can do is just roll up our sleeves and forget politics and see what we can do to help," Hai said. 

Hai said he understands the urgency right now when it comes to essential living items. He'll be collecting food, clothing and other items to help families transition into their temporary homes. 

"We'll have a clearly marked sign Fort McMurray donations. People can drop off any new items, toiletries, underwear, socks, even pet food that's unopened."

Hai will be collecting donations starting at 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. CST at City Square Plaza.