As a born and raised Albertan, I feel emotionally struck by the images emerging out of my home province this past week. The scenes of burned-out neighbourhoods – in a region already reeling from a slumping economy – are incredibly disheartening.
Amidst the wreckage, however, there has been an unprecedented outpouring of support from across the country which has added a desperately needed sense of optimism and hope for better days ahead. As of Monday morning, the Red Cross is reporting that a staggering $54 million has been raised to help the people of Fort McMurray.
It makes me so proud as an Albertan, as a Canadian and especially as a parent to see the country’s generosity on full display. At a time when television airwaves are flooded with derisive soundbites from unnamed American politicians, it fills my heart with so much joy to see examples of unbridled kindness from coast to coast in our great country.
My favourite illustrations of Canadian compassion from this past week are those involving children. From an ice-cream stand in Nova Scotia to a car wash in Niagara Falls, kids across the nation are helping turn tragedy into a teachable moment of caring for all of us.
A quick Twitter search yields some amazing examples of philanthropic efforts initiated by kids, parents and teachers to help Fort McMurray rebuild, see below:
— Travis McEwan (@TravisMcEwanCBC) May 8, 2016
— C Paige Bozarth (@CherylBozarth) May 7, 2016
— Suzanne Lundrigan (@newalberta) May 7, 2016
What an amazing shift in perspective for the thousands of people directly impacted by the flames and the millions more watching from home, to see a story of unimaginable loss become a story of unprecedented support, generosity and hope.
Congratulations to everyone who has donated their time and money to helping the people of Fort McMurray, especially the many kids across Canada who have shown tremendous heart amidst the heartbreak.