Written by Colleen Schmidt
Nearly $52M was donated to just seven charities by those wanting to help Albert’s Flood victims and many are wondering how that money was allocated.
In the days immediately following last June’s floods, the province listed six charities on its website as places people could go to give cash donations.
That list included organizations like the Canadian Red Cross and the United Way and non-profits like the YWCA and Calgary Drop-In and Rehabilitation Centre.
Samaritan’s Purse was not on that list but also received a number of donations and had a significant presence in places like High River.
“Red Cross was very fortunate to have the support of Canadians in this disaster, as we do in most disasters, and raised $42M,” said John Byrne, Canadian Red Cross.
Every dollar of that money has been earmarked for Alberta’s recovery for everything from immediate cleaning and recovery supplies to longer term needs.
Of that $42M, 65 percent has been given out but more is still available .
“It’s a smorgasbord of requirements that people would have. Everything from cash to equipment to transportation to even housing,” said Byrne.
The United Way was able to help organizations like Neighbourlink to respond in the aftermath with $1M in donations. It actually spent $1.4M, with the extra cash coming from its emergency reserve fund.
In High River, organizations and volunteers poured into the community and so did more than $1M in donations to an emergency relief fund which is being given out by application.
The Salvation Army is also accepting applications for the remaining $1.9M donated there for flood relief and says just over $600,000 has been spent so far.
Samaritan’s Purse also had a big presence in southern Alberta as it helped in the recovery and collected $4.2M to do it. So far, 90 percent has been spent or is committed to specific projects.
More than a thousand people were evacuated from the Calgary Drop-In Centre and a year later, its clothing store and side building still need some repairs.
All of the money that was given to the DI for recovery and infrastructure repairs has been used but the support they received didn’t go unnoticed.
“It was just mesmerizing to see cars come in one after the other and bring us support through food, clothing and games,” said Debbie Newman, Calgary Drop-in Centre Executive Director.
Just blocks away parts of the YWCA still have not been rebuilt because the concentration has been on its programming but it still managed to help more women after the flood, with less, than it did in 2012 .
All of the money donated has gone to cleanup, repairs and a hefty insurance deductible among other things.
“There were women that were vulnerable from poverty and homelessness and family violence before the flood, they’re still vulnerable today and were seeing new women with those same vulnerabilities,” said Elsbeth Mehrer, YWCA External Relations.
Additional fundraising facts and figures:
- SAMARITAN’S PURSE assisted 800 families during the emergency release phase last summer in Calgary, High River, Black Diamond, Medicine Hat, and the Siksika Nation.Currently Samaritan’s purse is working with 70 families restoring homes and helping them navigate insurance and disaster recovery program claims. Volunteers are still the big need for Samaritan’s purse and it is looking for upwards of 300 volunteers between now and the end of the year to help work on homes in High River and Calgary.