Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

As Canadian wildfires rage: “What’s mine is yours” May 4, 2016

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo of unfurling leaves in my Minnesota backyard.

IT’S BEEN A GLORIOUS MAY day here in southern Minnesota. Sunshine. Clear blue skies. Leaves unfurling in a landscape that is a lush and vivid green.

Tomorrow, though, we can expect “milky skies,” according to the National Weather Service Twin Cities Twitter page. Smoke from Canadian wildfires is moving east into Minnesota. It will be a visual reminder of what our neighbors to the northwest are enduring as wildfires rage.

With some 88,000 people evacuated from the Ft. McMurray area and 1,600 structures already destroyed, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the scope of the disaster. And those feelings would be warranted.

But while I was reading about the fires and evacuation today, I was moved to tears by the goodness of people. Scrolling through posts on the Fort McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Facebook page, I read offer after offer of help:

We have a house in north Edmonton. What’s mine is yours. Plenty of clothes for a female child age 4-6. Toys for any age. Room to park a small trailer. Room for a tent, basement and air mattress ready. Food, shower anything you need please call or text… Can pick you up and help with small children

Is anyone stranded on HWY 63 that needs fuel or supplies? Please let me know!

It’s not much. But if anyone should be coming through spruce grove on their journey tonight, I would like to give a hot meal. And a place to relax and regroup your thoughts and plans.

The Church of South Edmonton is opening its doors to those displaced by the fire. They’ll offer snacks, activities for kids, a BBQ, pastoral counseling, internet access—simply a place to recharge and refocus. People can sign up online to host a family.

Offers of help are also coming from Slave Lake, which only five years ago suffered from similar devastating wildfires:

I have a spare room ready for anyone in need in Sherwood park! Wanting to pay it forward as I’m from Slave lake and lost my house so I would love to help someone! Txt me at…

If there’s anybody from Ft McMurray in need, I have feed and water pen space available for free in Slave Lake. Can take 10-15 head of horses/cattle

And, yes, the offers for assistance extend beyond helping people. Canadians are also opening their farms and homes to house displaced pets and livestock.

We live by Rocky Mountain house On a farm We have room and free feed for your large or small livestock for as long as needed. Also room for your rv. And a spare room. And a holiday trailer that sleeps 7 for as long as you need. We can also come up and pick you or your animals up.

If you want your faith restored in people today, then I’d encourage you to read the Ft. McMurray Evacuee Open Source Help Facebook page. Now.

© Copyright 2016 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


12 Responses to “As Canadian wildfires rage: “What’s mine is yours””

  1. Don Says:

    The goodness of people never ceases to amaze me!!!!!!

  2. Back on 9-11, so I’ve read in e-mails, there were a couple of flights that were scheduled to land in New York en route from Europe. but because all air traffic was blocked in the US the flights were diverted to Nova Scotia and the citizens there were amazingly kind and generous to the passengers and crew of those flights that some of them got together and took up a collection that I believe (don’t quote me on this part) was turned into a trust fund to help with the schools in some fashion (Sometimes and old mind just makes up things out of bits and pieces to make the story better) and that’s the way it was as I recall. But the point I was trying to make is that we, the USA and Canada are of kindred spirit and are separated only by an invisible line, if you can call Niagara Falls, the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains, an invisible line! So when one is in trouble the otheris there to provide them with the necessities of life and friendship, unflinchingly. God Bless both these nations for they are brothers and sisters and yes, ‘we are our brothers keepers’.

  3. Jackie Says:

    Amazing how people can pull together and help others in a disaster. This post is good for the soul. Prayers going out to those who are affected and suffering, and also for those who have been so kind and compassionate!.

    • Prayers are definitely needed. I read just this afternoon that the wildfires are still spreading. Some of the footage is pretty incredible of vehicles leaving Ft. McMurray in a fog of smoke with flames roaring and ash and sparks falling onto vehicles.

  4. Wow. That is just wonderful.. thank you for highlighting the goodness in people.. c

  5. Theses people are amazing. I see that there are now fires in Minnesota too.

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