Hello, YYC friends. Clean up has started in all affected communities, and East Sunnyside and Sunnyhill are finally allowed back in. Yes, you can help.
While I’m writing the below with the specific needs of our community in mind, I think they apply to any affected community. If you have loved ones in any of the flooded communities, or if you want to help, here’s what we need.
What we need immediately:
Rags, rags, rags. Towels. Old jeans. There is a lot of mud to clean up.
Copious amounts of bleach. Buckets. Large utility brooms. Squidgy-type mops. The more paranoid of us would appreciate gloves and face-masks…
Bins for carting/storing our stuff as we move it out.
Strong backs to carry our things up the stairs–or outside for disposal.
Childcare. Our kids need adult supervision while we clean. Bring your own, and hang out on the playground. The water is foul, and the kids have to stay away from it. Come hang with them–or take them somewhere to give them a fun day. Their parents are zombies right now.
Coffee, water, and snack deliveries as we work. Some of our lovely community food trucks were by today, but few of us left our units to partake. Knock on doors. Hand people cups and food. Make us eat.
Drive-by garbage disposal. Got a truck and a couple of hours? Awesome. Come, tell us you’re there. We’ll load you up. Go to the dump or local roll-away bin for us.
**We need you to be aggressive and pro-active. Knock on our doors and say, “I’m here to help. What can I carry / clean?”**
Please keep in mind: we are none of us thinking very clearly or rationally. We’re obsessing about getting certain things done, even though it makes no sense to do it now. Humour us. We’ve not sane right now and we need to be doing stuff.
What we probably need now–and will for the next while–but find it hard to ask:
Laundry. All of our washers and dryers are bust, and even after we have power, many of us won’t be able to replace them immediately. Ask to do our laundry. And, baby, we are humiliated to ask. We won’t. You need to do this, “I’m going to do your laundry. I’m coming to pick up on Tuesday, and I’ll bring it back to you on Thursday.”
Feed us. Bring us food while we work. Invite us over for supper. Get us groceries.
What we will need very, very soon:
shop vacs, fans
But right now, today: we need to get stuff and the foul flood residue out of our houses. Help us.
But: YOU MUST BE AGGRESSIVE AND PRO-ACTIVE. We’re all overwhelmed. We have so much to do. When you come to us and say, “What can I do to help?” we kind of wig out and have no idea what to say. So say this, “I’m not working tomorrow. I’m coming over to your place. What are you doing? What do I need to bring?” or “I can take your kids tomorrow.” Offer us specific help–with a specific date on which you can deliver it. We’re shell-shocked and not thinking or planning properly.
Thank you for wanting to help. Do it. Don’t wait for us to ask.
From Sunnyhill, Sunnyside, Calgary, Alberta.