There have been moments of kindness and acts of goodwill for the evacuees of the wildfire threatening High Level in northern Alberta.
At Espresso House in La Crete, which is approximately an hour away from High Level, local residents purchased $600 worth of gift cards to pay for food and drinks for wildfire evacuees.
“They’re mostly surprised,” co-owner Willy Peters said of the evacuees when they find out their meals are paid for.
“‘Thank you very much,’ is usually what you get.”
At nearby clothing store Warehouse One, those who fled the fire are being given a 30 per cent discount off regular-priced items.
“Most of them are looking for tops — simple tops — and shorts and stuff since none of them packed enough clothes,” said employee Emily Driedger.
“Most of them seem pretty thankful and buy more than they probably would have.”
Watch below: Julia Wong joined Global News Morning Edmonton live from a La Crete evacuation centre in northwestern Alberta with an update on efforts to get the High Level wildfire under control.
Helen Buller is born and raised in La Crete; she took in nine adults and four children after the mandatory evacuation order in High Level on Monday.
“They needed a place. I couldn’t imagine if it was me, that I had to pack up and go,” she said.
“We have it here, why not? It was the least we could do.”
Evacuees are staying in her house and also on donated trailers on her property. Buller’s friends are also dropping off food and other items for evacuees like Julie Delcid.
View photos in the gallery below:
Delcid, her husband and two young children fled High Level on Monday, after coming back from a trip to Mexico on Sunday.
She started packing clothes when the threat became more real and then packed more precious items.
“I took my photo albums, our wedding album and stuff we can’t reprint — our baby books. I packed my grandmother’s china and some of her cross stitches that I had that she made for us,” she said.
Delcid then packed a tent for her family because they were unsure where they might end up. Someone eventually connected her to Buller, who is a complete stranger to Delcid.
“It’s been so great. She’s made us supper, breakfast and lunch the first day we were here. When the power came on, they turned on the water for us so we could use the facilities in the house,” Delcid said of Buller.
The kind gestures are no big deal for residents of La Crete.
“There’s a lot of good-hearted people here. A lot of people, they want to help others,” Peters said.
Buller said the evacuees staying with her are welcome for as long as they would like.
“It feels like we’ve gone on a camping trip and made some great new friends.”
The donated trailer, food and company of the other evacuees has made an impression on Delcid, and it is clear the gestures offer more than money can buy.
“It has me not stressed. I think if my house burned down, I would be emotional and stressed. But for now, we’re taken care of and I don’t feel that anxiety over the whole situation.”
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.