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Fire in the Victoria Apartment Building

Fire in the Victoria Apartment Building

On the evening of August 11, 2017 a fire broke out in a unit on the fourth floor of a local apartment building. Fire and rescue showed up to a roof that was fully in flames and all the streets surrounding were filled with people watching in horror as the building burned. As the night progressed these residents were brought to Fraser Community League Hall where Fire and Rescue, Red Cross, and volunteers from Fraser Community League Board as well as a volunteer social worker, who had been driving by at the time of the fire, were there to hand out water and snacks and get these people somewhere to go for the next 72 hours. Although some of this information was a little confused on the evening news and morning paper (it was Fraser where the residents went not Bannerman) what happened next in your community was not shared. YOU as a community came out to help in a big way.

After seeing the devastation of the building and the realization that we were dealing with a large group of displaced residents, there was a small group of individuals that jumped into action to help these people. Friends of Fraser and Fraser Community League Teamed up for this task (Liz Kalisvaart FoF & FCL, Julie Aloisio FCL and Mike Grue FCL) First there was contact made with Ed Gibbons Office to see what we could effectively do as well as a check in with Heather Sweets office who were able to get us resource information.  From there a call to Red Cross was made to make sure we were not going to be conflicting with other help efforts. At this time we were made aware that after 72 hours assistance was no longer provided, we had to do something A CLOTHING DRIVE.  Liz got in contact with a local church (Bethel Community Church) and got onto local moms groups on Facebook. Julie started the search of how to contact the residents of the building, KDM management and the security team on site Xpera were talked to. Fraser Elementary School Faculty heard of the cause and in came flooding the donations. Communities United stepped up with a force of volunteers to help sort all donations. Miller Crossing Farmers Market with the Kingsway Legion and Riverbend Gardens raised money to buy gift cards. A dental office stepped up and donated bags of dental hygiene. Edmonton Public Library dropped of books and DVDs for all ages also printed off resource information. Of course our plea for donations had been on Facebook and all the other community leagues shared as did individuals (over 100 shares). The Fraser Community stepped up and donated so many items we had to use not only one floor but two at the hall and stop saying just clothing drive but donation drive instead.

At the end of collecting all the donations we were able to help out 22 individuals from that fire. Five of those were children six years and younger who just lost everything. One of the males was able to move out of his car after we guided the way to correct resources. One of the female tenants left with a smile as she sang out the door, two children couldn’t hold back their joy as they got some new stuff. This is what you didn’t get to see and the thank you’s we couldn’t say enough. Over $950.00 total in gift cards were raised and handed out.  We couldn’t have done it without EVERY SINGLE PERSON who helped out. However there are some special thank you’s to say. Marie and Cindy with Communities United who went over and above. Jana at Miller Crossing farmers market who helped raise money. Lucie Vardaro with Danchuk Dental, donated all the hygiene items. All of the Fraser Board Members who came to assist with the donation drive. KDM management for posting on their website when we needed help.  Xpera the security company for handing out printouts for us, without each of these we would not have been able to get any information to the residents. The locations that allowed us to hang donation drive information (Fraser Daycare, Doyle’s Pub, Gas Plus, Giant Tiger, H&W Produce, Fas Gas). Once again a special thank you to all those individuals that came to sort and fold clothing.

After three separate times the hall was opened to the fire victims and these 22 people were helped out we had so many donations left over we wanted to forward all that good will to the community and other communities in need. First step the left over hygiene products were donated to SMILE a group that works closely with Hope Mission. Next we thought up the “Buck a Bag” campaign. At the Community League Day event we supplied Edmonton Public Library bags to be filled and each sold for $1.00 with all the proceeds going to Christmas Hampers (a Friends of Fraser yearly charity event). We made $58.00 to give to those hampers! Next on the list for the remaining donations will be to take them to used clothing depo where they will be weighed and Fraser Playground Redevelopment will get the proceeds of per pound brought in. Fraser Community could not have benefitted more from these donations!