If you want to help the tens of thousands of evacuees fleeing the Fort McMurray fire, be careful. Well-meaning people can fall prey to scams posing as donation sites, and even if you’re giving through organizations that are actually trying to help, some items may actually do more harm than good.
To make sure you’re having the maximum effect, follow these guidelines:
- If you want to donate to the Red Cross, you can give any amount through this link: Alberta Fires Appeal. Alternately, you can donate $5 by texting REDCROSS to 30333 or donate $10 by texting FIRES to 45678. Be careful: There are some scammers posing as the Red Cross asking for money on social media. Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government is matching all donations made to the Red Cross for the Fort McMurray Wildfires.
- If you want to donate to the Salvation Army, you can give any amount through this link: Alberta Fire Response.
- If you want to donate to Save the Children, you can give any amount through this link: Fort McMurray Emergency Wildfire.
- If you need a place to stay, or are looking to take in some evacuees, check out these Facebook groups: Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Page, Fort Mcmurray evac relocation help group.
- Airbnb has waived all service fees for those affected by the fire, and there are already over 140 places listed on the site for free.
- Those able to house displaced people can also sign up at ymmfire.ca
- The Calgary Humane Society is taking donations, you can give here: Fundraiser in Support of Fort McMurray.
- The Edmonton Humane Society is also taking donations, you can give here: Fort McMurray Wildfire Donation form.
- Those looking to house people’s pets, help unify lost pets with owners, and generally assist with animal rescue should check out this Facebook page: Fort McMurray Fire Emergency Animal Assistance
Donate food and items:
- If you want to donate items such as blankets or clothes, check out this Facebook group: Fort Mac Fire Donations. Make sure you’re only giving things people actually need. People often donate things after a disaster that aren’t needed, and sometimes actually get in the way of vital supplies.
- Edmonton Emergency Relief Services is collecting new shoes, towels, socks, underwear, diapers, baby wipes, and toiletries. Drop off items at: Hangar 2: 3631 – 56 Ave East, Edmonton International Airport.
- Edmonton’s Food Bank is collecting donations. Food can be dropped off at any major grocery store or fire hall.
- The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is inviting volunteers to sign up here.
- Edmonton Emergency Relief Services is looking for volunteers (must be 16 or older) at a number of locations throughout Edmonton. Volunteers are particularly needed at the airport, as that location is running 24-7. Follow their Facebook page: Edmonton Emergency Relief Services Society, for the latest updates.
- Those interested in volunteering with the Red Cross can sign up here.