The clean up is well underway! By now, we all know that thousands of Calgarians are descending, every day, into the hard hit neighbourhoods around our city, helping out friends, family and total strangers. These volunteers are often just walking into a neighbourhood, picking a street and simply helping. They are coming with their shovels and tools to help people start the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. Strangers greet each other, proudly sharing the badge of honour: completely muddy clothes!
People are feeling compelled to help in anyway they can. Whether doing the dirty work, or by offering food and drink to volunteers and residents. People are going through the streets bringing sandwiches and water to the devastated areas. Pop up barbeques are fired up and once hot, volunteers, like barkers, offer free hamburgers to all and sundry. Families, needing to help in anyway, bake cookies with their children and then, together, come to share them.
One thing is certain, in the great flood of 2013, no one is going to go hungry!
And it all started on Monday.
The demand to help had been pent up since Thursday. Calgarians had been coming to the Reception Centres around the city to volunteer in droves, offering anything they could. And there was nothing for them to help with. The reception centres are all staffed with City of Calgary employees who volunteer to do this work (they are trained for it). (I will write about them later). You could palpably feel the need of people wanting to help. For four days, that need was stifled and pent up.
On Monday it was unleashed.
The City quickly organized a volunteer rally, to gather volunteers together at McMahon Stadium and bus them into striken areas to help. It was announced at 8:00 AM for a 10:00 AM start. It was expected, and hoped for, that we might have an army of 600 people to send out. The word spread, and in that two hours, over 5,000 decided to show up at McMahon Stadium.
That sunny morning 5,000 people responded to the need of their neighbours and fellow Calgarians. 5,000 said “ We are Calgary, together”. It was the start of an amazing week. A week that has shown the world what it means to be a community, working together, a week where, when the sun finally came out, we all blossomed.
And I am forever changed.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.