Canadian Red Cross volunteer photographer Johan Hallberg Campbell and I arrived in Timmins yesterday morning to work with the volunteers here helping with the Red Cross response in Attawapiskat.

It’s the weekend and Timmins Red Cross branch manager, Heather Cranney, and volunteer Harvey Wyers are at the office working on sourcing supplies needed for Attawapiskat. They have been at it for a few days now because the list of items needed is quite long.

Last week, a team of three Red Crossers – including one staff and two volunteers – went to Attawapiskat to visit families in their dwellings and see first-hand what the needs are. Some of the needs are obvious: winter clothing, sleeping bags, heaters, generators and cots. There is also a need for basic items such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, wash basins, hygiene kits and crank flashlights. And then there are needs to help support the structures: wooden panels, insulation and nails.

Canadian Red Cross, working in partnership with government and community officials, is committed to providing this short-term aid to ensure families in Attawapiskat will be warm enough to survive the winter.

The Red Cross is able to purchase these urgently-needed items thanks to the generous donations of Canadians who responded to a call for funds for Attawapiskat. It is important for the Red Cross to purchase the items because it means we can get the exact supplies needed, the right quality and quantity.

The Canadian Red Cross has already sent two planes with supplies. The first contained 150 sleeping bags and 25 heaters. A second shipment included another 150 sleeping bags and $20,000 worth of winter clothing.

More shipments will be leaving this week as soon as more items are purchased.