When Tamara Lawrence and Tiphany Eliuk of Eckville learned of the devastation caused by flooding in Southern Alberta, they knew they had to do something to help.
So, last Friday, they began gathering items to donate to relief efforts in Calgary, with the aim of delivering two truckloads of donations.
Less than 48 hours later, they pulled into NeighbourLink in Calgary with a 25-foot trailer full of food, clothing and household items donated by people in Eckville, Sylvan Lake, Red Deer and Rocky Mountain House.
“We were just going to go door-to-door and collect a few things, and then it ended up expanding,” said Lawrence. “I put it all over Facebook and all of a sudden I had people in Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer commenting that they wanted to donate.”
With an overwhelming amount of people indicating their desire to help, Lawrence and Eliuk made the decision to set out Saturday morning to travel around the area and collect donations.
Their trailer, donated by Rainy Creek Powersports in Eckville, sat outside grocery stores while they informed people of their cause. Some people donated after hearing through Facebook about the opportunity to help while others gave what they could as they left the stores.
“We went to No Frills (in Sylvan Lake) and I stood outside the door with a sign and quickly told everybody what we were doing,” said Lawrence. “There wasn’t one person that came out of No Frills without something.
“It was phenomenal, I couldn’t believe it.”
Lawrence said the majority of people she encountered on Saturday were eager to help in some way. A young girl purchased a bottle of water and some baby food with the small amount of change she had on her, Lawrence explained.
At No Frills, where the majority of donations were collected, everything from toiletries to cat and dog food were received.
Many blankets, towels and other personal items were also collected from donors at each of the stops made.
Some people chose to give money to the cause, and by the end of Saturday, Lawrence and Eliuk had amassed over $600 in cash. They used that money to purchase more groceries and other needed items.
Lawrence said that when the trailer arrived in Calgary, essential items such as water were in short supply at NeighbourLink.
With the new donations, however, four pallets of water were left, and a separate room needed to be cleared for clothing.
After a long day of collecting donations Saturday, delivering the trailer provided much satisfaction, said Lawrence, whose son Brady joined her for the occasion.
“When we pulled up, it took about half an hour to unload,” she said. “We were only planning on taking maybe two truckloads, that was it, and it just flew off the roof.
“We were very happy.”
A friend of Lawrence and Eliuk’s from the Penhold area is continuing to collect donations, and has drop off areas set up around Central Alberta. For more information contact Lawrence at 403-373-1209.