Red Cross a leader in Slave Lake response
"With the Red Cross there, we never felt alone. They were able to provide help right off the bat," says Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee.
“With the Red Cross there, we never felt alone. They were able to provide help right off the bat,” says Mayor Pillay-Kinnee. “They were instrumental when we returned as well, assessing immediate needs and filling them.”
She says funding and essential services were provided quickly and the volunteers were professional and had the ability to address challenges immediately.
There were many issues for the Slave Lake community to contend with. One of the best things about the Red Cross was its ability to address each client individually, listening to their stories and identifying their needs. “They have a great set up and their volunteers are incredibly organized,” adds Pillay-Kinnee. “They have the capacity to access resources and to bring in people in from across Canada.”
The new library and Town Hall were destroyed. Red Cross has provided substantial support to get a vital link, the interim library, in the community going again.
“Red Cross was a leader in understanding us, they took the time to get to know Slave Lake as a community and our unique needs,” Pillay-Kinee says. “They have been a great support to me as a leader and it’s been valuable for me to have that relationship with them.”
The Red Cross has also helped residents by supporting the interim Slave Lake Regional Library until their permanent library, which was destroyed in the fires, can be rebuilt. This project will see close to $400,000 for rent and renovation of the interim library until December 2013.
“This project means so much to the residents of Slave Lake and the surrounding communities,” said Mayor Pillay-Kinnee. “Before the wildfire, our library was a focal point for our community. People of all ages and backgrounds enjoyed the facility and the services it provided. Keeping library services available to the residents of northern Alberta represents another step in the recovery of our community.”
“The people of Slave Lake, the municipal district and the surrounding communities have come to rely on the library for information and entertainment. For some, the library provides their only access to a computer and the internet,” said Sue Phillips, Western Zone Director General. “Funding the temporary space for the library fits with the commitment of the Red Cross to assist people in the community who have been affected by the fire. The library provides access and reduces stress for people needing to connect with resources. It also builds the economic and emotional capacity of those using the library’s services.”