A gift for those displaced by a personal disaster

Topics: Saskatchewan, Emergencies and Disasters in Canada, Volunteer
November 09, 2020

woman in vest with clipboard talks to male firefighter in front of a fire truckIt is the gift of time.
The time to figure out what to do next in the wake of a devastating house fire or flood.
For 207 families in Saskatchewan forced from their homes in 2019-2020, Canadian Red Cross Personal Disaster Assistance volunteers were there to help by giving a gift of time.
“As a first source of assistance to people, particularly with fires, I think it’s fairly significant,” Regina-based volunteer Dwaine Dornan said. “It gives them at least a few days to sort things out and see where they go from there.”
The assistance is providing accommodations, food and clothing or other required necessities, such as diapers, if needed, for up to 72 hours. The recipients are those displaced from their homes by a personal disaster, explained Jan Radwanski, Red Cross Emergency Management Coordinator for Saskatchewan’s South West region.
The Canadian Red Cross offers a wide range of services in the province such as violence prevention, first aid and water safety programs, but it is those involving the rapid response to disaster – big or small – for which the 124-year-old non-profit organization is perhaps best known.
“The Red Cross would not be able to offer a program like this without donor support and awareness of what this program is all about,” he said.
More than $220,000 in assistance was provided to families as a result of 149 incidents across the province. From Arborfield to Zehner and 52 other communities in between, volunteers responded when help was needed most.
For Dwaine and Barb Dornan, who have been married for 60 years and volunteering with the Red Cross for about two, this is an opportunity to give back.
“We have always supported the Red Cross financially – for years and years – because we feel that it meets the needs of a lot of people,” said Barb Dornan, who along with her husband is in her 80s.

In their experience, most of the people they have helped have little left. “Very often they have to leave in the middle of the night with very little,” Dwaine Dornan said. “Getting settled in a hotel gives them some time to figure out what next.”

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Canadian Red Cross 2019-2020 Saskatchewan Report Back to the Community
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