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Co-op moves on $100K for Fort Mac

By Dan Yates

May 5, 2016

Co-op is making an immediate $100,000 donation to the Canadian Red Cross to support disaster assistance in Fort McMurray, Alta.

This donation is part of the $1 million commitment by Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and more than 200 independent retail Co-ops to support emergency relief efforts across Western Canada.

“Co-op made a long-term commitment to the Canadian Red Cross so that we could lend a hand to our neighbours when disaster struck,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda. “While this amount is normally used to match local Co-op donations, we are releasing the full amount now due to the urgent need in northern Alberta.”

The initial five-year commitment in 2013 included $100,000 per year to pre-position goods across Western Canada to respond quickly to local crises and another $100,000 per year to match local retail Co-ops’ donations. This is in addition to the donations and collections from local Co-ops across Western Canada.

With the Red Cross scaling up operations, prepositioning amounts will be used in part to support registration, reunify families and provide accommodations, food, water and basic supplies.

The local co-operative effort

Today’s donation does not include the efforts by FCL, retail Co-ops and their customers on the front line. FCL is working to deliver more products to serve evacuees while retails are finding ways to support evacuees in the communities that need the most assistance.

Near Fort McMurray, the local Co-op in Plamondon, Alta., is now operating 24 hours to serve the rush of evacuees while employees and community volunteers are working to keep supplies on shelves. Meanwhile, St. Paul Co-op has deployed its Co-op Community Connector – a trailer that can prepare food for large groups at public events – to Lac La Biche, Alta., to serve meals to evacuees. In British Columbia, Vanderhoof Co-op has provided fuel and supplies to volunteers who are driving to affected communities to deliver emergency supplies.

Co-op’s donation to the Red Cross was used to assist wildfire relief efforts in northern Saskatchewan last year as well as flood relief efforts in southern Alberta, southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba in 2013 and 2014.