Thousands of evacuees from northern First Nations in need of support


One of my favourite parts of summer is camping — sitting around the fire, having a beer while roasting marshmallows — I’ll sit and watch the flames change colours and wave the smoke out of my eyes.

But as I pack up my camping gear and put it away for another year, I notice the headlines of the newspapers that I have crumpled up and used all summer to start our campfire flames.

While for me, fire has been something to celebrate and enjoy, for some Manitoban communities it has become a bit of a nightmare.

For over a week now thousands from the Manitoba Island Lakes Region have been being evacuated from their homes due to forest fires. The convention center is filled with cots and the hotels available are booked solid with families who had to evacuate their homes. Suddenly the luxury of spending my weekends having bonfires in my friend’s backyards doesn’t seem so luxurious.

While I spent my long weekend stuffing my face with marshmallows and staring into the dancing flames, people were forced to abandon their homes and belongings, families were separated and it left people are just hoping they have a home to go back home to when this is all done.

As a student, I don’t have a lot of time or extra money, but I think it’s important to at the very least show support and bring awareness to the fact that amongst the forest fires, hurricanes and storms around the world, it’s also happening right here in Manitoba.

People around Winnipeg have rallied together to show support for these people. Anywhere from hosting dinners, benefit concerts and clothing drives. Winnipeggers are stepping up and helping our neighbors. It makes me proud to be a part of such a giving and compassionate community.

So, this week if you have a little down time, go through your closet and get rid of those pants you were never going to wear again away, or that sweater that your grandmother gave you three Christmases ago that has been sitting there since.  Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre is collecting clothes and hygiene products for the evacuees on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 445 King St. Any little bit helps.