Donations continue to pour in to assist around 100 people left temporarily homeless after a fire partially destroyed a five-storey condominium building in southwest Calgary on Dec. 20.
Hundreds of items were arranged on tables inside the Bankview Community Centre on Boxing Day to help former residents of the Valhalla View condo..
Clothing, shoes, towels, canned food, toiletries, diapers and stuffed toys were neatly organized — an effort that came together in about 48 hours.
“On Christmas Eve I got a crew of volunteers together,” said organizer Julie Young.
“There was seven of us and we just started unloading bags and sorting it out.”
Many who live in the 56-unit building where the fire broke out had to leave everything behind.
“Even just coming here and getting our basic needs — like a toothbrush, a can of soup or even a sweater — really really does help,” said Sina Shannon, one of the building’s displaced residents.
“We basically left with the clothes on our backs and that’s all we have.”
Many of the victims have been helping other victims. One man reportedly donated a $200 gas gift card to another resident whose car was destroyed in the fire, to help him cover the cost of fuel for his rental vehicle.
Others like Trent Brown, who only bought his Valhalla View condo less than three months ago and lost everything in the fire, donated their time — volunteering to sort the donations at Bankview Community Centre on Christmas Day.
“I wanted to make sure other people felt support…and knew there were people that cared about them,” Brown said.
Since the fire, many businesses have offered items and services.
A Facebook page where people can connect and offer services has been set up, as well as a GoFundMepage.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. An investigator at the scene on Tuesday stated that, based on what he’d seen of the damage, it would not be unrealistic for residents to be out for a year or longer.
The Bankview Community Centre will remain open on Dec. 27 and 28, from noon until 2 p.m., for residents to come and pick up any donated items they may need.