For Naomi McAuley, mother to twins Liam and Jess McAuley, 12, it was important to show her children the devastation taking place in the province.
Her decision to not shield them from the events taking place in Fort McMurray was a wise one, as it sparked a light in Liam and Jess that she had never seen before.
“Immediately they wanted to help,” explained Naomi. “First they asked to go to their bank accounts, which we were fine with but also didn’t want them to drain their savings.”
Together Jess and Liam knew they needed to do more. Away they went for a few hours, recalled their mom, explaining she could see the wheels turning as they walked away.
The twins put their heads together and decided they wanted to open an iced tea stand near their house in Fox Run.
“We saw the videos of what was happening and we knew we wanted to do something,” said Liam with Jess adding she knew their would be many children their own age who would now be evacuees.
They set out to build their booth and kindly asked a group of young gentlemen who lived on the corner lot if they could set up camp there. Together they set their goal at$1000.
Day one started slowly but by the time a photo of the pair went mini-viral on Facebook, a steady flow of visitors began to grace their stand. Soon, they had serviced not only a number of local’s iced tea needs but word had spread of the pair’s initiative and they soon began to see a number of Fort McMurray evacuees showing up to thank them.
“They told us their stories and we had the chance to hear first hand what they were facing,” said Jess, who added the experience was very eye opening for them both.
By Sunday afternoon they were just shy of their goal. Jess was disappointed they had not yet reached their goal, but alas they left to head down to the community barbecue being held in support of Fort McMurray families in the area. To the entire McAuley families’ surprise – when they returned home there was a surprise left for them.
“There it was, the $150 they were short just waiting for them. I’ve never seen anything mean so much to two kids,” said Naomi.
Together Jess and Liam raised over $1,200 to go towards buying supplies for evacuees.
“What has happened in Fort McMurray has taught my children more about compassion and how to be a good person that I ever could have hoped,” said the pair’s mom.“As a parent, we can hope and dream that our kids grow up to have these values, but to see them come out in the face of a provincial state of emergency – I’ve never been more proud as a parent, proud of them and proud of our community.”