Most of us heard about the Fort McMurray wildfires back in May. What you may not have known were the facts – The fire started burning May 1st and was only declared under control on July 1st, Canada Day. It consumed approximately 590,000 hectares of forest, 2400 structures, 10% of the city, and forcing nearly 90,000 Fort McMurray residents out of their home. It was, needless to say, one of the biggest wildfires in Canadian history. Some residents have returned home in certain neighbourhoods since then. Others who lived in the heavily damaged neighbourhoods such as Beacon Hill, Abasand and Waterways may not be returning at all with the uncertainties if those neighbourhoods can or will be rebuilt.
Now, Fine Choice Foods had held a few bake sale in the last couple of years raising money for BC’s Children Hospital and Growing Chefs. This year the choice was easy and obvious; any funds raised would go to the Red Cross Alberta Fire Appeal. The goal was to have everyone donate at least $20 to the cause. With about 80 team members on site every day, $1600 was our minimum target. With that in mind, it was going to be tough to raise $1600 with a bake sale where items are typically sold for $1 or $2 each. Instead, we asked our multicultural staff to show off their cooking skills – Food for Fort McMurray.
Everyone was encouraged to participate in a potluck style luncheon on June 20th. Participants were asked to bring a dish that they have mastered or buy a dish that they love to eat. Over 67 dishes were brought in that day – a few team members even came in on their day off with a dish! A feast for the eyes and ultimately our bellies was what our crew generously donated. With dishes spanning the globe and everything from salads, appetizers, entrees and desserts, a delectable luncheon was served!
At the start of the first break (each team has their own break schedule), the eating began with a donation. For a minimum $10 donation, they were able to fill a plate full of food to enjoy. For a donation of $20 or more, they were able to come back during their lunch break, bathroom break, or after their shift was over for an “all you can eat” experience. A couple of cases of humongous mangos were even brought in, and staff gave a $5 donation for each mango they took home.
At the end of the day when all the donations were tallied, $2056.90 was raised from our Food for Fort McMurray luncheon. Fine Choice Foods as a company, also matched the donation dollar for dollar. A cheque for $4113.80 was written, signed, and sent off to Red Cross Canada!
If you would like to make a donation of your own, visit Red Cross Canada’s page to make an online donation.