The Edmonton Emergency Relief Services distribution centre at Kingsway Mall is moving into it’s second phase for the Fort McMurray evacuees. They were given supplies to last them a couple of weeks. Now they’re allowed for the first time to come back, so they can stock up again.
“We’ve helped approximately 60,000 individuals,” said EERS spokeswoman Nicole Geoffroy. “It’s three sets of clothes, that’s 180,000 pairs of brand new clothing. That’s 120,000 pairs of brand new shoes. All the donations coming in brand new are definitely being utilized and given out where they need to be, however because the numbers are so big when they’re coming back a second and third time we have to make sure it’s enough for everybody as well.”
Word from the Regional Municipality has come that for when it’s time to go back to Fort McMurray, they’ll need three weeks worth of supplies, so it’s time for them to make a return visit. “This will definitely help a large amount for that,” Geoffroy said, “because each and every time they do come back they are able to restock up on quite a bit of supplies so this should definitely help with maintaining what they need for that.” A phased return will begin on June 1.
“In the last few days we have started to see the numbers are slowly starting to dwindle down for families who are first coming. They are still there. There still is a need for that. But now that the numbers are starting to slow down we can now open up our doors again and continue to restock up on supplies. We just wanted to be sure that everybody got their’s first.”
“When people are coming back a second time certain things such as the clothing, we have had to limit that because people are still coming the first time.”
“We are still focusing on new donations for everybody. We are in great need of it and we are starting to see that the new donations are slowly starting to dwindle down.”
Plans are just about to be put in place for what to do with all of the mountains of ‘used’ donations that have come in. Geoffroy said an announcement on that will come in the next couple of weeks.
EERS also has a call out for volunteers. They once had 900, but lately only 200 have been on hand to help out.