Ten Canadian banks have agreed to take cash donations on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross to relieve more than 80,000 evacuees of raging wildfires in northern Alberta.
Beginning today, those wishing to support victims of the natural disaster — particularly from the burning city of Fort McMurray — can drop off money at their local BMO, Canadian Western Bank, CIBC, HSBC Bank Canada, Laurentian Bank of Canada, National Bank, RBC, Scotiabank, TD Bank Group, or Tangerine Bank offices.
All donations will be matched by the federal and Alberta governments, meaning that for every dollar gifted, the Canadian Red Cross will receive $3.
“This is the largest fire-related evacuation in Alberta history,” said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO of the Canadian Red Cross, in a Friday statement. “Thanks to participating banks, Canadians will have another method to donate to support Red Cross activities in response to this emergency.”
Donations can also be made via the charity's website, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or texting RED CROSS to 45678 or 30333. The relief organization already has boots on the ground providing support to those affected, including shelter, food, water, and other basic necessities.
Yesterday, its vice-president of disaster management, Jean-Philippe Tizi, told CBC that an estimated $11 million has been raised so far, but a Red Cross official could not be reached today for an update. A press statement from Prime Minister Trudeau released today encouraged everyone to donate to the campaign:
“Today, I speak for all Canadians when I say that our hearts go out to the families affected by this terrible fire," he said. "We are thinking of – and praying for – the people of Fort McMurray.
"Though Alberta’s loss is profound, we will get through this tragedy together: as friends, as neighbours, as Canadians. I encourage everyone to make a donation to www.redcross.ca , and help the thousands of displaced residents of Fort McMurray."