Parksville Qualicum Beach responds big-time to Fort McMurray fires

Thousands of dollars were raised at a recent concert in Qualicum Beach

Parksville Qualicum Beach area groups continue to help as the third largest fire in recorded Canadian history continues to spread and cause damage in Alberta.

For comparison there have only been a few wildfires over 50,000 hectares in B.C. in the last 50 years, while the Fort McMurray fire grew by more than 150,000 ha. in two days last week to surpassed 505,000 ha. on Thursday, May 19.

As of Friday there were over 2,400 firefighters working on what officials call 16 different fires in the area.

Meanwhile a benefit concert in Qualicum Beach last Thursday attracted about 200 people to enjoy a burger and entertainment, raising more than $10,000, said Evelyn Clark, President and CEO of the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre.

She said they raised about $3,400 from the entrance fee, food and drink sales, $2,700 was donated directly to the Red Cross and more than $3,000 worth of new stuff was donated, including personal items, baby clothes, hygiene products as well as food, toys and blankets for dogs and cats.

Clark said the new stuff will be shipped to Edmonton for distribution by Arrowsmith Moving and Storage.

They also received a lot of used donated items including clothing and household items that will be sold at the Qualicum Beach Rotary Garage Sale at Rotary Park on the beach, on May 28.

Stuff not sold will be donated to the SOS.

“Well done Qualicum Beach, pretty impressive given we basically did this in four days,” Clark said, singling out Thalassa Restaurant’s Oura Giakoumakis for the initiative, Rotary Club members “who cooked burgers, tended bar and generally did lots of the heavy lifting,” the town, chamber and civic centre staff and The NEWS.

Other local fundraising efforts include real estate agents Larry and Ruth Staley (250-240-2035), donating $1,000 for every property they list and sell by July 31.

The staff of the Qualicum Beach Beauty Bar (744-A Memorial Avenue, 250-594-7727) donated all of the wages earned on May 11 to the fire relief efforts.

And another big fundraising concert is taking shape June 26 at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds. Organized by the Coombs Hilliers Recreation Community Organization (CHRCO), it will run 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with entry by donation. There will be over a dozen local bands and performers donating their music, including Lazy Mike and the Rockin Recliners, Centrepiece, Big Twang Theory, Audioexcellence and The Enablers.

Readers have also raised over $960,000 so far through www.blackpress4good.com, the charity portal for Black Press, owners of The NEWS.

Donation to the Red Cross before May 31 will be matched by the government. Visit www.redcross.ca, any Red Cross office or call 1-800-418-1111.

Text REDCROSS to 30333 to make a $5 donation, or text FIRES to 45678 to make a $10 donation.

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