Wondering How to Help?

Vulcan County. Credit: Jenn Webster

Many of us who were lucky enough to escape the torrential flooding in areas of southern Alberta have been wondering what we can do to help. If you’ve been wondering the same thing – here’s a start…

Vulcan Country. Credit: Jenn Webster

If you know someone who was affected, or you’re willing to help how to help a complete stranger here is a list of things that will be needed immediately for the clean-up.

– Rags, rags, rags. Old towels. There is a lot of mud and sludge to clean up.
– Bleach.
– Buckets. Large utility brooms. Large squeegees for pushing water out. Mops.

– Facemasks. Gloves. Come wearing rubber boots!
– Cardboard moving boxes. Bins for carting/storing stuff as saturated stuff is moved out.
– Bugspray.
– Rural areas may require a post pounder in the coming days (as soon as the ground is dry enough to hold posts). Posts. Strands of fencing. A couple of square bales of hay wouldn’t hurt either…
– Shop vacs. Fans.
– Frozen dinners. Baked goods / pies. Things that can be put into a freezer and kept so flood victims can pull them out and cook themselves dinner without having to think too much about it.

A volunteer helping to sort through saturated house contents.

Offer flood victims specific help. Let them know what you can offer and when. Or, once the clean-ups commence – just show up. Offer your elbow grease and strong backs. Bring buckets. Many victims are completely shell-shocked right now and don’t even know how to begin with the clean-up.

I spoke to one person who told me, “We don’t even know how to deal with something like this. We’re just trying to get our home liveable again. We’re just reacting right now.”

If the family has children and you can offer a few hours to babysit for them – do it. The water is nasty and children have to stay away. Plus, many of these areas will be greatly swarmed by mosquitoes and there are sink holes and many areas of uncertainty.

There are also still evacuation centers asking for donations. Some have been overwhelmed with supplies and donations, so you really need to do your research before dropping things off. Everything from toiletries to diapers and shoes are high demand right now. The High River Flood Support Facebook page is an excellent resource to check.


I need to mention a big shout-out to George Canyon and his wife, Jennifer! ‘‘Team Canyon Cleanup‘ is an initiative led by the Canyons, to go out into the community of High River, door-to-door, and offer their assistance to residents to help clean up. Of course, the town is currently closed but if you would like to volunteer to be on the crew in High River, sign up by emailing your contact information to: [email protected]

You will be contacted and assigned with a cleanup date, location meeting place and time, once the town has announced residents can return to their homes in High River. (Please note: This email address is for volunteers of the Team Canyon Cleanup Crew only.)

Also a big shout-out to Okotoks Sobey’s – for the truckloads of groceries going out to evacuees!

Dave Gilbert from Sobey’s in Okotoks, AB. Gilbert was responsible for
sending truckloads of groceries to High River.

And a big shout-out to the thousands of people who have come forward to help others in need. People like my mom, who brought a complete stranger into her home so they can continue to work in Okotoks while displaced. Peopple like our local Hutterite colonies who jumped right in with large pumps and equipment and trucks full of food. People like the hundreds of volunteers from ages 2 on, who marched the streets of the City of Calgary today and yesterday and came to the aid of fellow Calgarians. Going house to house. Offering burgers and drinks. And manual labour. With no expectation of payment. It’s just what flood victims need right now.

Vulcan Country. Credit: Jenn Webster

For those of us who are able and willing – go house to house and clean. And rebuild. The flooding of 2013 may have reached its peak in most places but these people will need help for days, months and perhaps even years to come. We can’t forget that.