Northern Alberta Wildfires: How can I Help?

National Garage Sale to Raise Funds for Fort McMurray Shelter Foundation Efforts

The fury that is an out-of-control wildfire continues to rage in northern Alberta, engulfing the city of Fort McMurray and forcing one of the largest evacuations in Canadian history. Royal LePagers across Canada watch aghast, heartbroken for their friends and colleagues in the region, and ask, “How can I help?”

CBC News photo

CBC News photo

Firstly, I want to share with you that Marian Barry and her team at Royal LePage True North are safely out of the fire zone. What they don’t know, what nobody knows, is what they will have to return to. One thing is certain; the resourceful and resilient citizens of Fort McMurray will rebuild the thriving community of 80,000 people.

I’d suggest that we should and can offer immediate help. Here are four ways to do so:

As I have communicated through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter over the past 24 hours (which has been shared hundreds of times – thank you), we are urging you to use this weekend’s National Garage Sale for Shelter, the largest annual charity event of its kind in Canada, as an opportunity to help our colleagues in Fort McMurray.

The Royal LePage National Garage Sale for Shelter in Fort McMurray has for years been one of the top fund raisers for the event nationwide. Huge hearted citizens. With this year’s garage sale unable to go on, there will be a large gap in fund raising for the team’s efforts in the community – at a time of economic hardship for the region, and the horrible fires.

To all of our volunteers from coast-to-coast, please set up collections at your sales for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation in Fort McMurray. Organizers, please mark these funds as “Fort McMurray Donations” and simply include with your Garage Sale proceeds when you submit to the Foundation.

You can also help by donating to the Foundation securely online by clicking here. In the Comments section, write “Fort McMurray.”  As always, the company pays the Shelter Foundation’s operating and administrative costs.  100% of your donation goes directly to helping women and children in the community.

And, if you would like to offer broad-based support to the people of Fort McMurray, we suggest supporting the Red Cross.  Authorities and the Red Cross in Alberta have informed us that they have been overwhelmed by offers of ‘gifts in kind’ (household goods, for example) particularly from the big-hearted people elsewhere in Alberta. They emphasize that the best way to help remains a cash donation to the Red Cross through their online portal,

Finally, if you would like to help on the ground in Northern Alberta, you can offer yourself as a volunteer here.

From the horrific Southeast Asia Tsunami of 2004, to 2013’s widespread flooding in the Calgary region, I have seen Royal LePagers open their hearts and wallets, and offer their homes and time to those in their hour of need.  I know the people of Fort McMurray can rely on us.

Your friend and colleague,

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Phil Soper

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