In the midst of the devastation and hopelessness felt by so many displaced Slave Lake residents, there are beacons of light. They resonate from our hearts and can be seen all across the province and the country. They take the form of clothing, furniture, personal items, money, our time and our prayers.
Whatever we can give, we give. And we hope that the victims of the fire-raged community can feel our compassion. We can’t give them back all that they lost in the fires, but we can help rebuild their lives.
The outpouring of support starts with seeds and grows. And thanks to social media, that growth is not only immediate, but exponential. One example is a group of six Twitter friends who came together Sunday night and created a Facebook group asking for donations for the victims of the Slave Lake fires. The response has been overwhelming and they are still sorting through all of the items. The Beacon Heights Community Centre volunteered their space as a temporary home base until Saturday.
Jennifer Banks, a member of Top Draw and Epiar’s Business Development team and avid social media-lite, spoke yesterday with Natasha Chiam, one of the organizers of this initiative, and asked if she could help. Chiam indicated that they needed a place to store the remainder of the clothing and personal items until the residents get back into their homes or more permanent residences within the next month. They also intend to hold a massive garage sale to transform as much of these items as they can into much-needed cash donations.
Banks immediately made a connection with Sentinel Storage, one of our valued clients, and asked if they would provide temporary storage space. Within minutes of the request, Karen Bodoano, Operations Manager, graciously agreed to donate a bay in their north location – via her smartphone.
Literally minute by minute, the network of support and gratitude continues to grow. At the time of publishing, comments about this specific initiative and the generosity of businesses like Sentinel Storage and Ford Canada, who has donated trucks to transport the goods, sits at around *40,000 impressions on Twitter. Their Facebook group membership also continues to grow and currently includes 1400 members.
In spite of the horrific circumstances, isn’t it touching how crisis pulls us together? And how incredibly fortunate that social media and social conscience connects us and allows us to act, to achieve and to make a difference!
* according to #yeghelps hashtag