Lacombians big and small are coming together to support three families after their homes were destroyed by fire.
After the large fire in Henner’s Pointe on July 29th that left three families without their homes, a number of community initiatives have been started to benefit them. All of them are seeing tremendous support.
When Sue Sage, office manager of Lacombe Storage, heard sirens near her home that Tuesday morning, she knew whatever was happening was close by.
It didn’t take her long to learn of the fire in Henner’s Pointe. As soon as she did, Sage texted her boss, asking if it would be alright to donate a vacant mobile storage unit to take donations for those affected by the fire.
Sage said her immediate decision to aid those victims probably stemmed from knowing she would want help if the positions were reversed.
She added that she decided to donate a space for other donations because it was the only way she knew how to help.
“I guess I was thinking of ourselves,” said Sage. “What if that were my kids?”
Between 10 and 11 a.m. Lacombe Storage took to Facebook to notify people that they would be accepting donations.
Sage said it took no time at all for the community to heed the call. “It was instant,” said Sage. “Before we could even back this portable unit into its spot, I had an office full of bags.”
Days after the fire, donations were still coming in a steady stream. “It was just insane the amount that showed up,” said Sage. “That same night, every time we tried to lock up and leave after hours, somebody was honking at the gate trying to get in to drop off donations so we were here until 8 o’clock that first night.”
Sage said that Lacombe Storage has had some incredibly helpful volunteers come to assist them in sorting through all the donations as well.
She added that she is grateful to her boss for being so understanding and supportive of this initiative as it has taken Sage away from her regular duties.
“God bless my boss because I have hardly done any work in the last two days,” said Sage.
Lacombe Storage has received support from other businesses as well. When some people wishing to drop off donations were having trouble finding the location, Strand Media donated a printed sign to help identify the business.
Lacombe Storage has also started up a trust fund with Servus Credit Union as well. If anyone is looking to donate, the name on the fund is Lacombe Storage Fire Victims.
They aren’t the only businesses to help out either.
On Aug. 1st, Lacombe Sobeys began accepting monetary donations for the families affected in the blaze. Lynda Bouchard, co-owner of the Lacombe Sobeys, said that the store commonly participates in nation-wide fundraising campaigns that support local food banks and always see tremendous support.
In fact, a day before accepting donations for the Henner’s Pointe fire victims, Sobeys had wrapped up its Christmas In July Campaign where they raised nearly $13,000. Bouchard said she had similar thoughts to Sage regarding the fire and why she should help.
“This is one of those things that just kind of hit home,” said Bouchard. “It could have been any one of us.”
When trying to decide what to do to help, Bouchard remembered how successful the food and other charity campaigns run by the store were and decided to do something similar, knowing it would be supported by the community.
“We know that this community steps up,” said Bouchard. “Even five dollars each from half of our customers in a day is going to make a significant impact.”
Younger members of the community have stepped up as well.
Seven-year-old Melaya Armson and five-year-old brother Rylan were quite shaken up and scared by the incident.
Their mother, Nicole, talked things over with her children and they decided to help in order to have something good come out of the tragedy.
They came up with the idea of having a lemonade stand with the proceeds going to one of the families displaced by the fire.
They got some help from neighbour Morgan Provost, 9, and together they raised nearly $400 in just a few hours of selling lemonade and cookies on their first day.
“Everybody has been extremely generous,” said Nicole.
Sage said the community’s reaction to this tragic event tells her that she and her husband picked the right place to start a family.
She added she appreciates the strong community feeling Lacombe has.
“It just shows that we can have City status but we still have a small town heart and sense of community,” said Sage. Bouchard agreed.
“It just says we live in the best community in Canada.”