It’s very hard to sit in my work building with power and running water while knowing that so many people are not even close to being back in their homes. There are so many volunteers needed to help our fellow Calgarians in this time of need.
Last Thursday, my work team and I were very fortunate to have a day off to go and volunteer. There is a website that lists the specific areas of the city where volunteers are needed, we were able to sign up, and they knew that we were coming to help. One of the most hard-hit areas was the Siksika First Nations Reserve, about 45 minutes outside of Calgary. They need at LEAST 100 volunteers every day to help keep up. These people on the reserve lost everything. Their homes were completely destroyed, along with their clothes and toiletries toys and books, you name it. They were left with nothing.
We arrived at the reserve knowing that our task would be an indoor task (my group opted not to slug muck out of the houses). We were assigned to the donation center for clothes, toys, household items, etc. They had an entire hockey arena FULL of garbage bags full of clothing. One half of the arena was the donation sorting section, and the other half was what they called the “store”. To respect those coming to collect clothing, they had a tarp in between the two sections. For the first part of the day, I was in the “store” emptying labeled garbage bags with sorted clothing and folding the clothes into their respective piles.
During the second half of the day I was in the back part of the arena opening up garbage bags of donated clothing, determining what is worth keeping, and then sorting the clothes into age, gender, type of clothing, etc. This task was a bit scarier, because you never know what you’re going to get opening up these bags. Some people had donated used underwear, they were covered in cat fur, urine stained sheets, everything. They were not able to wash anything because of a boiled water restriction, therefore we threw those items away. In the afternoon we also helped clean the bathrooms in the arena and sweep and mop the floors.
We were there from 9-3 working hard, and our efforts were greatly appreciated. We all received pins from their nation as a thank-you.