There are times in life when devastation hits close. This is one of those times for me personally.

My hometown of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada – a city of 70,000+ people – has been entirely evacuated because of an out-of-control wildfire that is sweeping through the city.  Entire neighbourhoods have already been destroyed. Tens of thousands of people, who left with only the clothes on their backs, are now huddling in nearby communities and shelters awaiting news.  Many of these scared evacuees are my close friends, extended relatives, and my very own dad.

This fire is strong and powerful, no doubt about it. But I also believe the strength and power of community in times like this has an immense opportunity to be even stronger and more powerful.

So let’s do that.

Let’s be strong together.
Let’s be powerful together.

Let’s be a community of people who care, and support, and help, and serve, and give.

Let’s lend our thoughts and prayers to every person fighting on the ground and every person fleeing tumultuous conditions, but more so, may now be a time we open our hearts and homes to those in need.

How You Can Help

There are a lot of ways to get involved and help.  For those at a distance, the easiest way to provide timely relief on the ground is to donate directly to the Canadian Red Cross.  Various levels of Canadian Government are matching all donations to the Red Cross.  Every single dollar helps those families who have lost everything.  Let’s do this folks!

You can give easily on the Canadian Red Cross website here:

You can also give by text message. Text the word “redcross” to 30333 to give $5, or to 45678 to give $10.
Every dollar counts.  Watch the video below to see how easy it is.

Help For Evacuees

  • People can call the Red Cross at 1-888-350-6070 for family reunification.
  • Here is a real time Google document of restaurants offering free meals for evacuees.  A lot of businesses are stepping up, which is amazing to see.
  • Check out the Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Facebook Page that was setup up to help evacuees with information and resources. People have been using the page to assist evacuees with any items and shelter they might be able to offer. It now has over 30,000 members and growing.
  • A great Twitter source for evacuees is the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo – @rmwoodbuffalo who have been updating minute by minute since the crisis started.
  • A website was just launched this AM – May 5 to assist evacuees – Check it out here :
  • The supporters of Alberta Animal Rescues has set up a list of rescues and kennels who have stepped up to help those with pets affected by the fire in Fort McMurray.
  • Evacuated families who have children with medical needs can contact Ronald McDonald House Northern Alberta at 780-439-5437 for help arranging housing and care.

If you know any other resources we could share or add email

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” -Howard Zinn

Author Cindy Keating

Writer, storyteller, speaker and founder of Red Carpet Life, Cindy believes a life lived in service to others can change the world.
More posts by Cindy Keating