Glacier pledges support for wildfire disaster relief

A member of Wildfire Management Alberta’s Wild Mountain Unit pulls hose through smouldering forest in the Parsons Creek area of Fort McMurray on May 5. (Chris Schwarz photo courtesy Government of Alberta via Flickr)

Farm Business Communications’ parent company, Glacier Media, is donating $50,000 toward the Canadian Red Cross’ disaster relief efforts in the Fort McMurray area.

The Vancouver company said its donation is also on behalf of individual Glacier business units, which will undertake their own awareness and fundraising efforts to help the city and its residents rebuild their community and their lives, Glacier executive vice-president Bill Whitelaw said in a release.

Glacier, one of Canada’s top media and information services companies, has also set up an integrated online crowdfunding campaign, with all proceeds going toward the Red Cross’ efforts.

Through this campaign, “we can rally our readers, our customers and our communities to get behind the Red Cross efforts in a way that allows contributions of all sizes,” Tim Shoults, Glacier’s vice-president of content and audience development, said in the same release.

It’s important for Canadians to have a sense beyond the headlines of how important Fort McMurray is to the country’s economy, Whitelaw said.

“It’s just not an Alberta dynamic… all Canadians need to step up and help get this engine running on all cylinders again, putting people, companies and their welfare front and centre.”

The company said its operations in mining, agriculture, environmental services and community media will also advance awareness of the challenges Fort McMurray and the area faces in the coming weeks and months, Whitelaw said.

“In one way or another, all of our businesses touch Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo. Besting the fire was just the first among many challenges still to come.”

As of Wednesday evening, 19 wildfires were burning in Alberta. The Fort McMurray wildfire, now made up of two fires that have joined, has covered over 565,000 acres and extended to within 25-30 km of the Saskatchewan border.

Fort McMurray, Anzac, Gregoire Lake Estates and Fort McMurray First Nation remain under mandatory evacuation orders. A schedule for re-entry is expected within two weeks, the province said Wednesday.

The Alberta government has asked that all evacuees register with the Red Cross, either by phone (1-888-350-6070) or online, no matter where they are currently, to help ensure they have access to services they may need, including emergency financial assistance.

Financial assistance is being provided to eligible residents who have been displaced, in the form of debit cards, worth $1,250 per adult and $500 per dependant.

Donations to the Red Cross are currently being matched by both the federal and Alberta governments. — Network

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