St. Albert community rallies to support displaced seniors from massive fire
EDMONTON -- Organizations and residents in St. Alberta continue to help residents affected by the massive fire Thursday evening at a retirement home in that community.
The blaze at Citadel Mews West left more than 100 people homeless.
The City of St. Albert has partnered with the Canadian Red Cross to get donations to victims of the fire.
Local eyewear providers are offering free glasses and lenses to anyone who may have lost theirs in the fire.
Douglas Reinbold, a consultant with MDO Opticians, told CTV News Edmonton in an interview that he immediately wanted to help.
“When we saw the devastation of the fire we thought, what is it that we can we do to help out?”
“As a senior myself, the first thing I do in the morning is reach for my glasses,” he added. “We thought, oh my goodness, all of these people likely didn’t make it with their eyewear.”
MDO Opticians has been a local business for over 40 years in St. Albert and has helped dozens of people so far.
Reinbold said the entire optics community rallied to help seniors as FYI Doctors and Optiks International assisted in fitting seniors in new frames and lenses following the fire.
Affected seniors could also visit St. Albert Alliance Church Sunday to receive toiletries and gently used clothing, bedding, and shoes that had been donated.
Mike Sotski, a pastor at the church, said the church started collecting donations Friday and Saturday “non-stop.”
“We were overwhelmed,” Sotski said. “There was a continual stream of clothes coming in.”
The church anticipated that 20 to 25 seniors would drop by the church to collect some much-needed items. Sotski said some donated items were also taken to seniors who are being temporarily housed in other Christenson communities.
Sotski added that over $8,000 in cash and gift cards was also collected by the church that will be given to seniors in need.
“For us really it’s just about practically serving and loving our community,” he said. “We just want to give them some comfortable things.
“We are so grateful and thankful for the community response from St. Albert, Edmonton, and the Capital Region,” he added.
Jill Burt, corporate chaplain for Christenson Communities, said the donations are going a long way to support the displaced seniors.
“A lot of residents came out with just what they had on their backs,” she said. “We just are so grateful that the community at-large came together.”