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Alberta Flood: Want to volunteer? Just walk down a street

Alberta Flood: Want to volunteer? Just walk down a street

Posted on: June 28, 2013
Author: Jennifer Kohle

Note: David Mann is the financial manager for ATB’s strategy and operations team. Here, he reflects on time volunteering in the cleanup with colleagues Lindsay Winslow, ATB senior talent acquisition partner, and Candice Saruwatari, ATB senior HR business partner. His challenge is clear: just help.

I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer over the last week at a few homes in neighbourhoods devastated by the flood. It’s surreal seeing dumpsters lining the streets and every yard stacked high with belongings and debris from the flood, when just a few blocks away everything is business as usual.

The destruction is so great in a number of communities that if you want to volunteer, you just have to walk down the street. You won’t pass more than a few houses before finding a homeowner who needs help. Many of them are exhausted. They’ve been up for days on end trying to clean the mud out of their basements and salvage what they can. It’s overwhelming and seems like an insurmountable task for a couple or family to take on themselves.

It’s heartwarming to see how Calgary has rallied around these communities and it’s true that many hands make light work. The number of businesses and individuals helping is astounding. There are businesses volunteering to pump out basements and donate generators to light up homes and power tools. There are dozens of individuals clearing out flood-affected homes and volunteers with pickups and trailers constantly driving down the street, collecting any debris and taking it to the landfill. There are food trucks, local restaurants and families handing out food and water to everyone helping out.

In an area that is in chaos, it’s been amazing to see how coordinated and efficient the volunteer effort has been and the parts that everyone has played.

It’s been a great experience so far, but there is a ton of work remaining that will take months to complete and require many more volunteers, so I encourage anyone to help out anyway they can.

- David

More stories from the floods:

Tears and drywall
Primed for grime
Fully invested
Wet books, story of energy
Extra Hands