It started off as a call about water damage on Sunday morning from a burst pipe at the Forest Lawn Community Centre.
The water soon began gushing out of the building and turned to ice in the parking lot — but it’s the damage left behind inside that’s devastating.
“I just came running and sure enough the nightmare became a reality that all the computers were underwater and soaked,” said Gar Gar, executive director of the Youth Empowerment and Skills (YES) Centre.
The organization has been collecting donated computers and laptops and getting them into the hands of kids who can’t afford new electronics.
Water from the broken pipe leaked directly onto around 100 devices, damaging all of them, according to Gar.
“The water couldn’t have found a better place to burst except right on top of the computers,” Gar said as he surveyed the damage on Sunday morning.
“Every time you pull one out, it looks like it just came out of the laundry — it’s just all water.”
In April of 2021, the YES Centre handed out 93 devices to families in need just in time for when students in grades 7-12 switched to online learning because of the pandemic.
This latest batch of donated computers was in the process of being refurbished. Gar said volunteers were getting ready in anticipation of children possibly learning from home again this month.
He said kids who have limited access to technology have suffered the most during the pandemic when it comes to online education.
“I am praying and hoping that the kids won’t go online again especially if that happens this week and we receive families that need support, that would be tough and heartbreaking,” Gar said.
Gar is confident that generous Calgarians will once again step up to help others, much like they did when a much bigger flood happened eight years ago.
“It brings me back to when we had the flood in Calgary; everybody stepped up and we always had the help and support from the community and that’s what I believe in,” he explained.
“I get up every day believing that this community is way stronger than what happens. We had the flood in the city. This is just a flood in the hall so I think we will get better.”
He said people can donate computers by reaching out here: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=KWVXLXPVHNQL6