People from across the West Kootenay have responded in droves to a Trail family’s call for donations to send to flood ravaged Alberta.
The Howell family, a Glenmerry trio who started the ball rolling, is asking for volunteer manpower to help pack another 53-foot trailer destined for a Calgary drop-in centre.
“We are in dire straights here,” said matriarch Teresa Howell on Canada Day.
“We are desperate for people to come and help us pack and load the trailer before it leaves for Calgary.”
Howell said the community response of donated items has been remarkable, but the family is tiring and needs muscle to sort and pack donated goods into the truck before it ships out on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t take long to do and more hands make lighter work,” she said.
Howell added that a third trailer is slated to arrive Thursday and will be the last shipment they send for now.
The centre has requested further donations of furniture and appliances be delayed for the time being as the centre’s displaced people cannot go back to their homes for the next few weeks, said daughter Trina Howell.
The Howells are no longer collecting clothes, although brand new packaged socks and undergarments remain on their wish list. So far, with the help of Fruitvale firefighter Andy Gagnon, the family has gathered 30 pairs of steel-toed boots and welcome more donations of the footwear.
Last week, Trina took on the plight of High River’s 2013 graduation class whose prom wear was washed away in the floods.
“So far, we’ve had 62 prom dresses donated from Trail alone,” said Trina.
“And now the Nelson graduation class is busy gathering many more to send.”
This week, Trina’s attention is focused on sending specific items to the Siksika Nation and the Morley reserve in southern Alberta.
“I would like to donate an entire truck just to send to the reserve land in the south of Calgary,” she said.
The water on the reserve is contaminated and over 1,000 Siksika people have been forced from their homes on the Alberta reserve.
“Bottled water is a very big need,” she said. “And the Siksika are living in tents and that is how they will be living in the foreseeable future.”
In addition to water, hygienic products and cleaning supplies, Howell is asking for donations of camping equipment, sleeping bags, portable beds and children’s playpens.
“Anything you would need to camp out, they need as well.”
For volunteer time or donate, call 368-8755 or visit Howell’s facebook page, “Koots for Calgary.”