Plant donations to Fort Mac: 'this is so unbelievably generous'

August 22, 2016
Written by Fort McMurray United Way
Aug. 22, 2016, Fort McMurray, Alta. – More than 1,000 planters and hanging baskets were delivered to local residents earlier this summer, generously donated by greenhouses across Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

“The generosity of greenhouse owners is absolutely amazing,” said Diane Shannon, executive director for the United Way of Fort McMurray. “Fresh flowers add colour and a sense of renewal and hope.”

An initiative of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association, the gift to residents and businesses inspired tears of appreciation by recipients.

"It was beautiful to see," said Russell Thomas, director of communications and community impact for United Way, one of the volunteers who was on hand to help get the plants off the trucks.

"Several residents who had lost everything during the fire were at a loss for words at the generosity of these companies."

GREATLY APPRECIATED BY RESIDENTS

While the giveaway was promoted to start at 1 p.m., the anticipation of the public was apparent as people started arriving early, some even before the trucks had arrived. By shortly after 1 p.m., the plants were all on their way to new homes.

"Amazing," said one resident.

"This is so unbelievably generous," said another.

Some volunteers were filling up trucks and vans to deliver to seniors and shut-ins. Others shared that they were making special deliveries to families who had lost homes or who are waiting to be allowed into their homes in devastated neighbourhoods. Many were picking up plants for family and friends who were unable to leave work.

"There was some disappointment that the flowers were gone so quickly," said Thomas. "It was apparent that this generosity meant a lot to the citizens of our community. We were happy to volunteer our time to help this initiative of the Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association."

Wajax graciously donated the use of their parking lot and volunteers from a number of different social profit organizations located in The Redpoll Centre helped with the off-loading from two trucks that had travelled to Fort McMurray from Sylan Lake and Abbotsford, respectively.

SIMILAR DONATIONS BY AGGA MEMBERS

Members of AGGA contribute by helping communities to brighten up with colours when natural disasters have caused grief. They made a significant impact after the fire in Slave Lake (2011) and after the flood in Calgary and southern Alberta (2013).

“We are proud to help provide colour and life to brighten up businesses and homes during these very trying times of rebuilding,” said AGGA board member Michiel Verheul.

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